Tramlines

Sulky Federer says balls to it all

Tramlines

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Roger Federer has become increasingly stroppy in recent times and
on Monday, the assembled world media was treated to another gripe of the former
world number one's.

Apparently he's unhappy with the balls.

Despite cruising through his opening round match 6-3 6-4 7-6(3)
against Feliciano Lopez
, Federer was belligerent in his post-match press
conference about the new balls being used at Roland Garros.

"I guess the disappointing part here in this whole story,
because I'm hearing a lot of conversations about the balls, it's just that
they're not the same from what we've just played for the last month," he
said.

"That for us is the most frustrating part...the tournaments
all changed to the Roland Garros ball after last year. Roland Garros
has changed their balls again. Now we're stuck with a different deal for all the
different ATP Tour events.

"That is the frustrating part; that we need to adjust before
the French Open to different balls."

You could argue that as a professional, Federer should be able to
adjust to different balls being used in much the same way that they adapt to, I
don't know, the different surfaces they play on throughout the year?

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Michael Llodra was also less than happy in his opening clash,
getting involved in an ugly spat with umpire Mohamed El Jennati. Llodra got increasingly frustrated with a supporter that he claimed
was moving around in the stands before losing his temper with El Jennati when
he was given a warning.

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"I don't think the umpire was doing his job," the Frenchman
said after his 6-7(5) 6-3 6-3 6-3 loss to Belgium's Steve Darcis.

"He should have called security or told that person to stop
moving around. Security should have done their job. I mean, I had seen this person for a long time already. It's
too easy to give me a warning. It was useless. And of course it's not pleasant
to get a warning."

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TRAMLINES
DISCLAIMER OF THE DAY

A number of you were wondering on Tramlines' blog if we'd be able
to show our face after predicting the end of Nole's winning
run
.

Tramlines could have taken the Harold Camping Rapture
route on this one - laid low, then predict the same thing again in 17 years,
suggesting that we'd got our sums wrong the first time.

But in all seriousness, there's little to say other than to offer a
hearty congratulations to the world's best player for putting together the most
incredible run of performances in recent memory.

Tramlines predicted Djokovic's streak ending in Rome because, much like a high jump
competition, the bar is being raised every single time. His victory in Rome was more impressive than in Madrid,
which was still better than Miami
- you get the picture.

It was not a slight on Djokovic as much as a belief in Rafael
Nadal's strengths on clay, and a feeling that the depth on the men's tour would
sooner or later catch up with the Serb.

But it hasn't caught him yet, and the bar is raised still higher
this fortnight as Djokovic aims for a first French Open crown.

The logic says he should have slipped to defeat by now - the fact
that he has not just makes his achievements more remarkable and historical -
and exciting for fans of the game.

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TWEET OF THE
DAY 1:
"Very entertaining match: Dickie Gasquet & Steps Stepanek
using the whole court-DG big struggle at the French the last 4 yrs-needs a good
run." Perfectly decent tweet from Brad Gilbert there, but the nicknames caused
TL to look twice. Dickie Gasquet - not bad although not exactly imaginative.
But seriously? Steps Stepanek? Surely not.

TWEET OF THE
DAY 2:
Not strictly speaking a French Open tweet, on account of Devin
Britton currently playing on the Futures Tour, but Tramlines was so astounded
by the American's tweet that it had to be included: "I don't understand
how Muscle Milk can have no milk in it. Boggles my mind." What is there to
say?!

RALLY OF THE
DAY:
Facing break point in just the second game of the match, Feliciano
Lopez mis-hit a ball so badly that the ball was set to come back down with ice
on it. Convinced that when it eventually did re-appear, the ball was going to
be out the Spaniard returned to the back of the court to ask for the towel and
prepare for the next point. Not only did the ball land in but Lopez, with his
back to Federer, managed to recover and go on to win the point!

UPSET OF THE
DAY:
Whilst not exactly a shock that the consistently inconsistent Tomas
Berdych lost early in a tournament, it was t

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he manner in which he did it that
cause Tramlines' eyebrows to rise. Last year's semi-finalist, who admittedly
hasn't been producing his best tennis of late, was cruising at two sets to love
up before capitulating in spectacular style. The 31-year-old world number 140
Stephane Robert, buoyed by his home crowd, stormed back into contention by
taking the next two sets, before saving a match point and holding his nerve to
outlast Berdych 9-7 in the fifth. All that despite the Frenchman never having
won a five-set match before.

MATCH TO WATCH ON
DAY THREE:
It would take a fool to predict an opening round upset for
defending champion and world number one Rafael Nadal. And even Tramlines is not
stupid enough to think that John Isner, who has only won 15 matches on clay in
his career, could take Nadal down. That said, with Nadal potentially a little
low in confidence after successive defeats to Novak Djokovic in red-dirt finals
and Isner possessing a booming serve and equally huge ground-strokes on any
surface at any time, it is not inconceivable to believe that the American could
cause Nadal a few problems.

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