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Winner or Whiner: Murray a Casualty of Post-Olympic Strain

Andy gets Last Laugh on Joker

August 09, 2012 | 04:50 PM

Now that Andy's pulled off a big win, he's starting to act like other big winners, or whiners, depending on your point of view (some have always thought of him as more the latter than the former). After "a bit" of knee soreness in yesterday's easy win over Falvio Cipolla, Andy had it worked on and left with it feeling better, but when he showed up today to test it out on a bike, it was still "a bit sore". So he decided not to wait until tomorrow before his match with Raonic - postponed because of rain - and withdrew.

This kind of transparent withdrawal has become standard operating procedure on the tours. In the past year, Fed, Serena, Rafa, Joker and other top players have withdrawn from required events without making much pretense of their being a real problem. Rafa is the only one who's "injury" seemed to have any real back story to it. The rest have all come back from their "injuries" without ever looking back. By citing bogus injuries or exaggerating an ache or pain, they escape the fines and loss of ranking points they'd be penalized if they simply withdrew for fatigue. The real culprit is the schedule and the rules, which do not accept genuine fatigue and risk of injury as reasons to escape the automatic penalties which protect tournament organizers, ticket holders and sponsors from routinely losing stars who don't need to add points or defend them. Everyone seems comfortable with this phony system.

In Andy's case, he was in a position to make a small effort by playing a round because by winning one match he wouldn't lose the 3rd round points he was defending. He got the last laugh over Joker again - the Serb needs to stay to defend his winner's points from last year's event. Ha-ha.

His withdrawal is good news for Berdych, Raonic, Isner, Fish and the others remaining in his half.

Expect Andy to try to go the distance in Cincinnati next week: as 2011 title holder, he is defending 1000 points. If he's lucky, Joker will arrive tired from his efforts in Canada, Rafa will pass on another Masters, and Roger will be upset early after his week off.


Toronto 8.9.12

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