Things We Learned on Day Three of the 2014 French Open

Throughout the French Open, we’re going to be inviting different people from the tennis community to add to our “Things We Learned” series. Today we’re happy to have Jeff Sackmann join us.


1. What was I thinking when I picked Li Na to make the Roland Garros final? Anyway, I won’t do that again.

2. Caroline Wozniacki lost in three sets to Yanina Wickmayer, and that’s a bummer. I had no illusions she would even get close to the final few rounds of Roland Garros, but I had hoped she’d make enough of a run to stave off this kind of crap:

I hope she gets healthy and doesn’t read any of the reports about her breakup.

3. Marinko “Mad Dog” Matosevic won a Grand Slam match! The 13th time’s the charm.

Here’s his celebration:

4. As we’ve seen before, Sloane Stephens seems to enjoy making fun of Paul Annacone:

“He doesn’t know how to put on wifi or anything, so in Australia he had like a $2,000 phone bill because he was like on Twitter,” Stephens said. “He had his data roaming on or whatever instead of being on wifi. I’m like, ‘Dude.’”

Stephens was mystified by the screen settings on her coach’s phone, too. “If you see the letters on his iPhone, one word is the whole screen,” she said. “It’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”

At Roland Garros, she said, Annacone has been annoyed by the wifi, which has a habit of bumping users and requiring them to sign on again.

“He’s old, so it’s tough for him,” Stephens said, smiling.

5. His tennis was forgettable, but Bernard Tomic wore this jacket at his post-match presser, and it was surely unforgettable:


1. Stanislas Wawrinka might be out of the French Open, but he continues to have a sense of humor.

2. It seems like commentators are really laying it on Tomic these days, which I’m fine with as long as he keeps showing as little effort as he did in his 6-2, 6-1, 7-5 loss to Gasquet. I know that Tomic is just coming back from injury, but Gasquet also has a back injury that caused him to miss the clay season, and the Frenchman said he only played the French because it was his home Slam. So, you know, perspective.

I was listening to Darren Cahill on ESPN2, who talked about Tomic’s “TERRIBLE” work ethic on the practice court, and openly laughed when Chris Fowler asked if he thought that Tomic could come back from two sets down. Apparently, Marion Bartoli was also going after him on the BBC:

Meanwhile, it sounds like Bernie was in rare form in his press conference.

I just have to keep reminding myself that he’s still young, and that his father is terrible and he’s surrounded by “yes men.” And then I have to laugh. Because, I mean, otherwise I’d rip my hair out. And I have a lot of hair.

3. So, Caroline Wozniacki lost to Yanina Wickmayer today in a re-match of the 2009 U.S. Open semifinal. Of course, to a lot of the media this had nothing to do with her recent injuries and the fact that she only started hitting balls again last week, and everything to do with her heartbreak.

Naturally, everyone was super classy about it.

AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Is this a good time to link to my conversation with Andrew Burton about sexism in tennis?

(I wrote  about this topic for Bleacher Report today too: “Caroline Wozniacki’s Early Exit at 2014 French Open Not All About Rory McIlroy

4. MAD DOG Marinko Matosevic won a match at a major! As we have previously documented, the Australian was 0-12 in majors in his career before his win today over No. 82 Dustin Brown. He almost blew it too, but managed to sneak it out 7-6, 6-4, 6-7, 7-5.

5. It was a historical day at the French Open. Not good history, but history nonetheless.

It was actually the first time ever that both Grand Slam champions of the previous Slam have fallen in the first round of the very next Slam. Ever. So that’s something.

Li Na said that she would have lost to anyone today, she just wasn’t mentally there. But give full credit to Mladenovic, who had lost seven matches in a row before today.

The bottom half of the draw is now WIDE open. Simona Halep, Sara Errani and Jelena Jankovic all have a somewhat realistic shot at making the final. (Stop laughing. I said “somewhat.”) In my opinion, Simona has the best shot. However, Errani and JJ have gone deep in Paris before.

Meanwhile, that cursing you hear is from Maria Sharapova.

6. I’m not sure you can take anything from Ivanovic’s slaughtering of Garcia. Garcia totally caved under the pressure and didn’t make Ivanovic do much. Still, Ivanovic was steady and didn’t self-implode, which I feel still noteworthy for her. She’s in that open bottom half of the draw too, so lots of people are going to be picking her.

7. I slept through most of Grigor/Ivo, but oof. Milos Raonic, the Generation Next hopes are all on you. Try not to fall over.

8. It’s so hard to not get excited about Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys when you see the potential they have. I’m not one to talk, but don’t squander it, girls. Please.


1. Steve Johnson sure likes the majors. That doesn’t exactly mean he plays well at Grand Slams–his career mark is 2-7–but he does stay on court for a long time. When play was suspended today, he led young French qualifier Laurent Lokoli 3-1 in the fifth set after fighting back from a big deficit in the third.

While this is only Johnson’s 10th main draw match at a Slam, it is his sixth time going five sets. If he seals the victory over Lokoli tomorrow, it will be a big step forward, as he’s 0-5 in those previous five-setters.

2. Like me, you probably hadn’t heard of Danka Kovinic before today. The 19-year-old qualifier from Montenegro lost in straight sets today against Kirsten Flipkens, but clearly showed she is a player to watch. She rode an eight-match winning streak into today’s contest and fought hard into the first-set tiebreak, displaying both great defense and a powerful forehand.

3. As Amy and Lindsay noted, Marinko Matosevic finally won a Slam match, breaking an 0-12 string five short of the all time record of 0-17, held by Jose Antonio Marin. (Oddly, of Marin’s 17 losses, he came closest to beating Pete Sampras, then ranked #2 in the world.)

However, fans of Grand Slam losing streaks needn’t fret: Paolo Lorenzi is here for you. The Italian lost his first-rounder yesterday to Roberto Bautista Agut, dropping his record at majors to 0-12. While Lorenzi had to qualify here, his ranking is well inside the top 100, so he’s guaranteed a spot in the Wimbledon main draw. He’ll probably make the US Open main draw as well. Since he turns 33 at the end of the year, breaking Marin’s record is a longshot, but the dream remains alive.

4. When he retired with a shoulder injury against Jurgen Zopp today, Tommy Haas nudged (shouldered?) back into the lead for most retirements among active players. Until February of this year, Nikolay Davydenko had the lead among active players, but now Haas has 23 career retirements to Kolya’s 22.  Both have nine career withdrawals, as well.

5. There will be one truly unexpected fourth-rounder on the men’s side. Haas’s presumptive third-round opponent, Nicolas Almagro, also retired with injury, leaving Zopp, Jack Sock, Dusan Lajovic, and the winner of Johnson-Lokoli in that section. Whoever takes advantage of the carnage will earn himself a what is likely to be a fourth-round date with Rafael Nadal.

3 Responses

  1. Moo Tennis
    Moo Tennis May 27, 2014 at 5:34 pm |

    All the coverage on Caroline is inevitable, but still disappointing. Today’s loss had nothing to do with Rory. She had a pretty awful clay court season that was plagued by injuries. It was always going to be a big ask considering she was nowhere near 100% fit and how little tennis she has played over the last couple of months.

  2. q10
    q10 May 27, 2014 at 8:32 pm |

    congrats to Marinko, v happy for him, it was a losable match for him

  3. Joshua
    Joshua May 28, 2014 at 3:32 am |

    “Props to first-time slam winner marinko matosevic for throwing a half eaten banana into the crowd, that’s a souvenir for a lifetime.” I’ve mostly given up on eruptions of self-righteous rage when people use “Grand Slam” and “major” interchangeably, even if it still makes me roll my eyes when I hear things like “Serena Williams has 17 Grand Slams to her credit.” Wow! Steffi Graf only had two! Still, it’s sentences like that tweet, which suggests that “winning a slam” now only involves winning a match, that make me think I wasn’t raging nearly loudly enough. Serena? 249-time slam winner. If “Grand Slam” can devolve from “winning all four majors in the same year, or [depending on the strictness of your criteria] winning four consecutive majors” to “any of the four major tournaments” to “any match within a major tournament” what’s to stop it from devolving to mean “winning a point in a tournament the week before a major”?

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