(Editor: Michael wrote this before unseeded Gael Monfils defeated fifth seed David Ferrer in the quarters.)
Nole, in adidas, defeats Latvian Ernest Gulbis in the French Open quarterfinals 7-5, 7-6 (3), 7-5.
We’re halfway through the quarters and, alas, there are no major surprise survivors left. So that tends to leave us to focus on the known quantities and how they’re shaking down, or out, or something along those lines.
Novak Djokovic (that’s JOCK-ovich, thankyouverymuch), along with showing off his solid and semi-dominant play, has also been demonstrating a fair portion of on-court arrogance: you’ve got the looks of frustration, of disbelief, and of downright annoyance that the lesser opponent across the net has actually won the point, one that was so rightfully his. You may have noticed that Tennis Channel has introduced a new feature in their coverage this year: the slow-motion reaction shot. I don’t believe ESPN2’s got it. We get to see any emotional/competitive bent that’s emanating from a given player after they’ve just won or (mostly) lost a point — every smirk, every scowl, every eye roll. And Djokovic seems to have the full arsenal, as wide a variety as his game itself.
Look, I too fell in love with the Jocker (the nickname still works!), both through his personality and his brilliant imitations; loved those verite shots of him hamming it up for a player in the locker room at the U.S. Open. But his on-court persona has gotten a long, long way from the off-the-court guy. (That said, if you happened to catch Bill Macatee’s interview with him, you might have seen a bit more cockiness than you would have liked.) Maybe with his rapid ascension, it’s just a matter of the maturity catching up. In any case, you may be able to guess who I’ll be rooting for come semifinal #1.
Michael Shaw writes about tennis and other subjects for the Los Angeles Times and is also an artist. He can be reached at michaelshaw_sar AT yahoo DOT com. Read his previous posts for TSF here.