Tuesday, September 2, 2008
By Neil Schlecht
In a promotional bit before the start of the US Open, boxing promoter Don King staged a pugilistic-styled “Grapple in the Apple” weigh-in of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Perhaps those two mild-mannered players weren’t the best choice for the event.
Wednesday afternoon’s matchup of sixth-seeded Scot Andy Murray, 21, and the 19-year-old Argentine Juan Martin del Potro, who’s riding a 23-match win streak, comes against the backdrop of a supposed feud that has piqued interest in an already anticipated encounter.
Del Potro and Murray, 16 months apart, have known each other since junior days, but it was their May match in Rome earlier this year that has the two of them, and others privy to their playing history, talking.
In a testy match, Del Potro allegedly launched a ball at the feisty Murray’s head. At a changeover at 5-4 in the second set, the two engaged in sideline trash-talking that the umpire tried in vain to extinguish. The sit-down squabble began with Murray complaining about the attempted beaning, to which Del Potro retorted, somewhat elliptically: “You and your mother, the same always.”
That set Murray off, incensed that the Argentine would dare invoke his mum: “If you ever speak about my mum again!” The umpire pleaded with both players “to save it ‘til later.” “That is unacceptable!” cried Murray.
Del Potro sat stoically, staring straight ahead.
Murray was asked whether there was some unfinished business between the two in his press conference, after defeating Stanislas Wawrinka to advance to the match against the 6-foot-6 Del Potro.
“I haven't spoken to him since, so whether there is or not, for me it's another tennis match,” said Murray. “When you get on the court you've got to put your emotions aside and get the job done.
"I've known him since we were really young," continued Murray. "I wasn't great friends with him before. I don't need to be friends with him now."
Murray won that first and only bout in a TKO. After Murray split sets with the big Argentine, Del Potro was forced to retire with an injury.
Looking forward to today's showdown, Murray said, “Whether I like Del Potro or not really doesn't make any difference. When you get on the tennis court it's another match, and you've got to win.”
For the curious, there’s charming YouTube video evidence of the incident (complete with amusing Eurosport commentators advocating for a throwdown then and there):www.youtube.com/watch?v=muM-UQc_Tnk
Round 2 between these two combatants – technically the quarterfinals – is coming up Wednesday on Arthur Ashe Stadium. Be there!
that was from www.usopen.org
i thought it was interesting.. didnt follow the rome masters back in may (exam time-blech!), so didnt know about the feud that was going on between these two players (great young players too may i add). the tempers match their young blood i guess..hehe.
btw, i missed the match totally -even the delayed telecast! it's a 12 hr-difference between ny and msia!!:( heard the commentators saying it was the best match they've seen in the us open so far..grr..
anyway, murray won over del potro already, and will be meeting nadal in the semis.
meantime, caught the williams sisters playing against each other (for the umpteenth time!), and this time serena won, but what a great score (7-6, 7-6) !!
hopefully can catch fedex vs muller while sahur later, then delayed cast of roddick vs djokovic (who actually announced that he's gonna stop imitating other players now, and become -gasp!-more serious!!!oh no..;))