During the 1st round of the Miami Masters 1000, in which, need I remind you, more than half the players we’re a no show, Canadian Vasek Pospisil, ranked 67th lost in 3 sets (6-3 4-6 6-3) to the humble American Mackenzie McDonald, 120th in the world and out of qualies. As is, not much more to comment on aside from a solid win for the American and a disappointing loss for the Canadian.
However, in the 1st set, at 4-3 40-0 McDonald serving, Pospisil (on the return) smacked the ball out of the ballpark. Apparently it was last seen over the Bahamas. A warning for ball abuse was announced by the French chair umpire Arnaud Gabas. In the following game he destroyed his racket and then took too much time to serve. The third violation ended up in a point penalty which cost the Canadian the set. What followed was a high quality loss of coolness on behalf of Pospisil. Listen closely :
So wait, what happened there? How come the Canadian, known for his nice guy qualities, got in such a mental state?
Two days before this match a player meeting took place, during which they raised their disapproval with the conditions tennis players are now having to deal with : never ending testing, bubbles, lowered prize money … At the end of this first meeting, the group decided to reconvene in 24 hrs but this time with the CEO of the ATP : Andrea Gaudenzi. During the second meeting, as co-president of the PTPA, Pospisil took the heat (alone as Novak Djokovic other co-president was not around) from Gaudenzi, who apparently had some very harsh words for the Canadian.
Clearly too much to handle for Vasek, who, the next day, was totally unable to focus on his real job : professional tennis player. After such a meltdown, I’m surprised Pospisil was able to get back in the match. He managed to win the second set. His opponent, who was as in shock as everyone else when listening to the mad Canuck at the change of ends, probably lost his concentration somewhat. But in the third, the tennis union rep was forced to capitulate.
To be implicated at this point in tennis politics clearly doesn’t mix well with competing in such a high level event as a Masters 1000, where the pressure is tough enough as is.
This reminds me of another incident when politics and competitive high level tennis did not go exactly hand in hand. The PTPA was born during the past US Open. That was when Novak Djokovic and Vasek Pospisil got to work. And then this happened :
Since the incident two days ago, Pospisil apologized via his Twitter account :
These apologies will not prevent the Canadian from being sanctioned, but could help to make the verdict a bit lighter.
In any case, it is very clear that the atmosphere on tour is not at it’s best. Week after week, test after test, bubble after bubble, the players are slowly but surely losing it. On top of that, in the US flexibility with rules is not their strength. A little bit like in Australia.
The protocols need to be respected but common sense needs to prevail or else …