James Blake is furious with Fernando Gonzalez, after what the American racketeer considered to be an unsportsmanlike move by his Chilean counterpart during their Olympic semifinal match on Friday. During the third and final set, Blake hit a ball that went long but appeared to glance off a lunging Gonzalez’s racket. However, the umpire ruled the point for Gonzalez, and he went on to win the game to even the set at 9-9.
Blake was bitter at Gonzalez after the match, complaining that he should have admitted that the ball hit his racket, and conceded the point.
From the ASSOCIATED PRESS:
“Playing in the Olympics, in what’s supposed to be considered a gentleman’s sport, that’s a time to call it on yourself,” Blake said. “Fernando looked me square in the eye and didn’t call it.”
No word on if Blake found other things to blame his loss on other than himself. My suggestions would include the smog, the court, the fans, ill-fitting sneakers and/or headbands, and the fact that they didn’t take the green M&Ms out of his locker room like they said they would in the rider.
Because apparently the first point of a game during the third set was what caused Blake to lose the match. Not the fact that Blake had three match points with Gonzalez down 5-6 in the third set and serving 0-40. Or that he had a shot to knock Gonzalez out with an easy forehand and misfired. Or that he’s the one that hit that shot long in the first place. No, after going down 15-0 while up 9-8 in the final set, there was no possible way he could have rallied from such a crushing defeat. He is only human, after all.
For his part, Gonzalez said he “didn’t feel” if the ball hit off his racket or not. The match had been tension-filled before this happened, especially after Gonzalez fired a shot at Blake’s head in the second set.
In all, Blake came off like a whiny junior player who throws a tantrum after his match, until his Mom has to take him for McNuggets and a Coke to calm him down. Needless to say, if this all had happened to John McEnroe instead of Blake, the story might have included phrases “international incident” and “Chinese troops have been deployed to the tennis stadium.”
After the match, Blake bemoaned being “knocked out of the tournament” despite the fact that he still has a bronze medal game against Novak Djokovic on Saturday, so it doesn’t sound like his heart is in that match. If I were his opponent, I’d try to push his buttons a bit by taking “cheating” to a whole new level. I’d come in with a tennis bag that resembles Rodney Dangerfield’s golf bag from Caddyshack - a racket with laser guidance, one with a giant, comically oversized head, and maybe some tennis balls that go squirrely when they hit the ground - and see if Blake can be pushed into Ted Knight levels of stammering and fuming.