Vasek Pospisil Tells us How he Really Feels After Miami Open Meltdown

published: Mar, 29, 2021

by: Charles Blouin-Gascon

Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks back on the week that was in the world of tennis. This week, Charles Blouin-Gascon recaps a difficult first week in Miami for Vasek Pospisil.

Let’s say you wake up one day, feeling kinda grumpy. You don’t particularly know why but you just know you’re not quite happy that day.

Then you start to go about your day, maybe you get the coffee going. You pour one in your cup before—oops, you spilled coffee on the counter. Ugh. Now it’s time to go outside to walk your dog. You put him on his leash then go outside and—goddamn was that dog poop you just stepped in?

After the walk you come back inside, ready to make breakfast. You walk over to the kitchen but then hit your toe on the table on the way there. Gosh that hurt so much. Before you know it, you’re screaming expletives at the table and if your dog hadn’t barked, you would have probably broken a chair on this stupid table that just hurt you.

You know it’s not the table’s fault, or even that it’s not really a problem with the table in your house, but like, you really just can’t help it and it pissed you off so much.

Why are you telling us this?

What’s the point of all this? Well, Canadian Vasek Pospisil basically battled his own tennis version of the scenario above last week at the Miami Open in the tantrum heard around the world.

As far as player apologies, Pospisil’s is pretty good—probably because he knew how much he had messed up. During his first round match against American Mackenzie McDonald, the Canadian lost the first set on a point penalty when he mistook the tennis balls and his racquet for a kitchen table and chair.

Then Pospisil turned in his crowning achievement. When umpire Arnaud Gabas warned him, the 30-year-old lost his shit and gave us a rare glimpse at behind the curtains of the reflections that one goes through during these outbursts. During, again it must be repeated, a Masters 1000 first round match, Pospisil said that, “An hour and a half yesterday, the chair of the ATP (i.e. Andrea Gaudenzi) fucking screaming at me in a player meeting for trying to unite the players.”

By then, he was theoretically speaking to Gabas but really, he was saying this to an audience of one: himself. Other highlights of his meltdown include the long-winded but efficient “Get him out here… Fucking asshole” and the rhetorical question “Why am I supporting this fucking tour.”

But by far the best moment came when the Canadian screamed that, “You want to default me, I’ll gladly sue this whole organization.” Part of us wishes that Gabas would have called Pospisil’s bluff but we understand why he didn’t: you don’t kick a man when he’s down—or, like, when he’s hit his toe on the corner of a kitchen table.

What was the reason behind this outburst?

This outburst might all seem extremely random were it not for the fact that last summer, Pospisil joined Novak Djokovic in establishing the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA). Consider too that this “fucking asshole” that Pospisil had fought with the night before his Miami match, this Andrea Gaudenzi, happens to be the ATP chair and so technically someone who stands across the table from Pospisil.

Once you consider all this, suddenly it all makes sense. And suddenly, we understand that while Pospisil might have screamed at Gabas, the point was that he was screaming—and that he likely wished he had screamed all these things the night before.

Perhaps the funniest chapter in this entire saga is that somehow, Pospisil went on to win the second set of this godforsaken match once play resumed, but then lost the third.

He’s never ever been so relatable.

Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG

Charles Blouin-Gascon

I'm the mastermind (I use this word very generously) of the 'Tennis Elbow' column, which looks at the previous week in the world of tennis. I try to bring humor to my coverage, because life's much better when you're smiling. I can also hit a mean backhand down the line.

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3 thoughts on “Revisiting the GOAT Debate in Men’s Tennis after Djokovic Breaks Federer’s No. 1 Record

  1. Winning slams is given too much weight. Although Novak has won two fewer slams than Rafa and Roger, he has reached the same number of slam finals as Rafa, and has reached FIVE MORE semifinals and five more quarter finals. Rafa has lost early in slams much more than Novak.
    Novak is the all-time champion for weeks at number one. 316 weeks as of this writing, and almost definitely will make it to 331 weeks by the end of Wimbledon (passing Serena on the way, and one week short of Martina at that point, but still 45 weeks behind Steffi Graf). If he can keep the number one streak going, he could hold it all year, and reach more than 350 weeks. Roger is 2nd at 310. Rafa is down in the low 200s. Rafa, however, has a comfortable lead in the weeks at number one or two category…over 600!
    Novak’s Grans Slam, holding all four Majors at once is amazing, but even more amazing is the fact that he beat something like 31 top ten players in 2015, a record that boggles the mind. The next highest number for beating top ten players in one year is in the low teens.
    Rafa’s hardcourt percentage is in the low 70s. Novak is the only player who has above 80% winning percentage on all three main surfaces (grass, hard, and clay). Roger is higher on grass and lower on clay.
    In terms of total wins, Roger still has a big edge, and it’s looking like he will catch Jimmy Connors all-time record, should Roger’s injury heal well. The question is: Will Roger ever catch Jimmy’s record for all-time tournament wins (109)? Only if he concentrates on some smaller tournaments, 250s or 500s…even then it won’ be easy….he only needs five or six more, but the competition is getting tougher every day. Rafa has over 1000 wins now. He, too could become the all-time leader in three years. Imagine being the all-time leader in wins and winning percentage? The underrated Connors was for a long time. He’s still fourth on the list after Rafa Novak, and Borg, who had a short career.
    Novak’s double career Masters slam is really something special. No one else has won seven of the Masters,a nd Novak has won all nine at least twice each. That’s more impressive than slam sins to me…..three sets being a better judge of tennis skills than five….everyone is trying just as hard to win the Masters as they are the slams.
    As far as H2H rivalries, Roger gets short-changed here, because he had a comfortable lead over Novak until he reached 31, the age Pete Sampras retired. Novak came into his prime and began to edge Roger, and it’s only becaue of the three GS matches that Novak stole from Roger, after being down double set point, that Novak hass the lead. Roger also has a H2H lead against Rafa on two of the three surfaces. Most of their meetings have come on clay, mainly because Rafa was beaten often on fast courts, so he didn’t make it to the finals of a lot of fast court tournaments, whereas Roger made the finals of clay tournaments all the time. Roger was celarly the second best clay courter of his prime, miles ahead of everyone BUT Rafa. Rafa was not always the second best hard court player.
    Roger’s peak of five years is more impressive than anyone else’s. He also had the best SINGLE year. But Novak had a ten year run better than anyone’s, and he had a one year record (2015) and a five year record that are second best, and close to Roger’s best.
    I’m still giving the GOAT to Roger. Novak is a close second. Rafa is a close third After the clay season, things will change. Then they’ll change again after the hard court season……

  2. The fact that Rafa never won the YEC has to count against him, while Roger and Novak have won it many times. Novak is still third in total tiltes won, but he is a solid leader in top tournaments won, including Masters, slams, and YEC. Both Rofa nad Novak have a chance of surpassing Roger and Jimmy Connors for the most career tournament wins. But all it takes is one younger player to step up and take over the game for all this to change….Sinner? Hurcacz? Medvedev? Felix AA? Tsitsipas? time will tell…..

  3. It’s September now, and Novak is the GOAT. No questions asked. He won Rolland Garros and Wimbledon since my last post, and he got to the finals of the US Open. He is tied for most slam wins, and has surpassed Rafa for most slam finals, just behind Roger. He now has the best winning percentage of all time. 83.2%. He should hold the number one ranking at least until Next February, which would put him close to 360 total weeks, just behind Steffi’s 377. I’, thinking he’s going to quit soon. The younger guys are catching up and surpassing him, and he doesn’t have anti-Novak crowds to inspire him anymore…..He’s losing his fight.

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