PDA

View Full Version : Players who retire hen losing - article


bridgepea
Mar 21st, 2007, 12:26 PM
The past month has thrown up lots of questions about why and when players retire during matches. Juan Martin Del Potro quit while trailing 6-1, 3-1 against James Blake at the Tennis Channel Open in Las Vegas a few weeks ago, bringing into sharp focus the flaws of the round robin system. At the other end of the spectrum, Andy Murray felt compelled to finish last week's semifinal match against Novak Djokovic at the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells even though he was too injured to be competitive.
So how often do players retire injured when they are losing, and how often when they are winning? Which players never retire even when losing, and which have a habit of throwing in the towel?

We went through the career records of the top 20 players on both the ATP and WTA tours as of February 28, calculating the proportion of times they’ve stopped when close to losing a match. Naturally, it's assumed that a player who retires when ahead or level in a match genuinely can’t continue playing, but it’s a different story when they’re behind. Unless some debilitating injury strikes, retiring when just a few games from defeat is a grey area of tennis etiquette.

Some pros are more prone to on-court injuries than others and there is no suggestion that any were not injured when they retired, but the statistics seem to speak volumes about the attitude of various players. Though they're equally likely to become injured while ahead as they are when they are behind, some will play on until a result has been determined, even if they went into the match carrying an injury. Others stop when they feel they can no longer win the match.

Retiring during a match doesn’t just affect the player, but the crowd and the opponent as well. “There are definitely players that are retiring so that the opponent doesn’t get the satisfaction of really beating them,” said John Lloyd, British Davis cup captain and former Australian Open finalist. “I did it early in my career too, not with retiring but through tanking. It’s a similar thing: I was messing around and it was obvious to the opponent that I wasn’t taking it seriously, so he didn’t get the satisfaction of beating me. It’s the same with retiring – you don’t want to give the opponent the satisfaction of actually beating you.”

Players with the best records for not retiring when losing include those who are generally well-regarded for their competitive fairness and sportsmanship. Among the men, Roger Federer and James Blake have never quit while behind in a match.

“I’m not surprised that Federer and Blake have never retired,” said Lloyd. “It’s kind of an old school mentality – you don’t ‘deef’ [default]. I think it’s the champion’s mentality. You’ve got to be a champion enough to know that you take it like a man and give the player the satisfaction that they beat you, whether you were injured or not.”

At the other extreme is Tommy Haas, with 11 out of his 13 career retirements coming when he was heading for defeat. On the one hand, he deserves credit for even starting some of those matches if he was already injured, but two of his withdrawals seem almost petty: he once retired while trailing 6-4, 5-0 in a best-of-three set match and on another occasion while trailing 5-1 in the deciding set. Similarly, Jarkko Nieminen has six retirements, all of them when he was heading towards defeat.

Andre Silva, the ATP’s chief player officer was shown the research and commented: “Injuries and retirements are unfortunately part of the game and we monitor those because of our concern and care for players’ health and well being. But we have never encountered a case when we could suspect a player of retiring during a match when he could have continued without further damage to an injury or risk to his health.”

Ivan Ljubicic, who has a good record when it comes to not retiring, talked about his experience with this dilemma at Indian Wells last week, where he lost the opening set 6-2 to David Nalandian and was having trouble with his knee. “I was thinking in the beginning of the second set, if I lose the serve, I’m just going to retire, because I didn’t know how bad can it be if I keep playing,” said Ljubcic. But he persevered – and won the match in three sets.

On the women’s side, the well-liked Kim Clijsters has had plenty of injuries but retired while behind just once – in the semi-finals of her hometown event of Hasselt, when she was down a set and tied at 2-2 in the second against Elena Bovina. Ana Ivanovic, Shahar Peer, Nicole Vaidisova and Martina Hingis have all never retired while losing.

Hingis’ laudable record is no surprise either, according to Lloyd. “The bottom line is that the really good champions don’t feel they’re going to lose until the last point, so they never throw in the towel. I don’t ever remember Chris [Evert, to whom he was married] defaulting.”

On the flip side, an astonishing 11.4% of Jelena Jankovic’s total career defeats are retirements while losing – that’s more than one in every nine losses. Nadia Petrova is also one of the most common on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour: she has retired while either one or two games from defeat on no fewer than five occasions.

About her last retirement while on the verge of defeat – she trailed 6-2, 4-2 in the second round in Sydney earlier this year – Petrova said: “I was just not well. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t play my best tennis. The crowd would not enjoy. Why should I carry on?”

When told that around two-thirds of players’ retirements occur when they are losing, Petrova admitted the probability of winning was often a factor in deciding whether to carry on. “Why would you retire when you’re winning?” she said. “Most of the time players are retiring when they’re not feeling well, or they’re hurt, and they cannot continue. So they’d be putting themselves into danger [if they carried on playing].”

She added: “It was many times that I was winning and I had to call someone onto court. I was fortunate to finish it.”

A spokesperson for the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, who also reviewed the data, said: “There is no evidence that WTA Tour players do anything other than compete their very best.

“Tour healthcare professionals provide advice and treatment to ensure the health and safety of players, including whether it is safe or not to continue to play during the course of a match.”

Those sitting in the player’s box can also affect the decision to quit or play on. Maria Sharapova has twice retired, both times while seemingly on her way to defeat: when 6-4, 2-1 down in the Beijing semi-finals two years ago, and while 6-1, 0-1 behind against Ivanovic at the same stage in Tokyo last month. In Indian Wells a fortnight ago, the Russian explained her recent absence from the Tour was due to a hamstring injury she had sustained while playing Ivanovic. “It was a sudden movement that I did after a serve when I landed in the second game of my match,” she said.

The Russian did not take a medical timeout until she had lost the first set 6-1. When allowed to speak to coach Michael Joyce as part of the WTA’s on-court coaching trial, she mentioned she was having problems while serving. “That is ridiculous, just hit your serve,” he replied. She led 30-0 in the opening game of the second set, but when her opponent got back to 30-30, Joyce was heard to yell: “quit, quit!”

Jankovic retired in Dubai last month after twisting her ankle during the second set of her semifinal against Amelie Mauresmo, saying after the match, "I would have played on even on one foot, and even if my other foot had been three times the size, but my mum called out to me to stop." Clearly, the injury was very real, but as noted above, the decision to stop is not unusual for her.

Justine Henin is also slightly above the Top 20 average, but might own the most memorable example of all – stopping when down 6-1, 2-0 with a stomach complaint during last year’s Australian Open final against Mauresmo. Serena Williams has twice retired within one or two games of losing, while Anna Chakvetadze has retired four times during her short career – each time when she was a set and a break down, or a game away from losing.

But that doesn't always sit well. “It’s pretty pitiful to do that unless it’s an obvious physical thing,” said Lloyd. “Once you play, you should play until the end – unless you can’t stand up, of course. These matches where players are retiring a game or two from defeat, that’s pathetic.”

kabuki
Mar 21st, 2007, 01:30 PM
Interesting. Where's the article from?

Elwin.
Mar 21st, 2007, 01:38 PM
Last year. WTA Istanbul R1.
Michaella Krajicek- Irina Kotkina 6-0/4-0 ret.
Kotkina retired. very strange

tenn_ace
Mar 21st, 2007, 01:54 PM
Interesting. Where's the article from?



article
http://www.tennis.com/features/gener....aspx?id=70254 (http://www.tennis.com/features/general/features.aspx?id=70254)

stats
http://www.tennis.com/features/gener....aspx?id=70246 (http://www.tennis.com/features/general/features.aspx?id=70246)

keirana332
Mar 21st, 2007, 02:07 PM
great article
interesting stats

John.
Mar 21st, 2007, 02:13 PM
Great article. Very interesting

charmedRic
Mar 21st, 2007, 02:16 PM
very nice. new set of stats.

hingis-seles
Mar 21st, 2007, 02:30 PM
Seles was badly injured when playing the Ericsson Open semifinals against Hingis in 2000, but played out the entire match, losing 6-0, 6-0 instead of retiring.

GoDominique
Mar 21st, 2007, 02:44 PM
Stevenson.

tenn_ace
Mar 21st, 2007, 02:47 PM
Stevenson.

she is not top 20.

tenn_ace
Mar 21st, 2007, 02:48 PM
Last year. WTA Istanbul R1.
Michaella Krajicek- Irina Kotkina 6-0/4-0 ret.
Kotkina retired. very strange


Kotkina is not top 20.

GoDominique
Mar 21st, 2007, 02:56 PM
she is not top 20.
And?

tenn_ace
Mar 21st, 2007, 03:04 PM
And?

the article was about top 20 players. did you bother to read it?

GoDominique
Mar 21st, 2007, 03:08 PM
the article was about top 20 players. did you bother to read it?
Yes. But no thread about retirements is complete without mentioning former top-20 player Stevenson. :)

lecciones
Mar 21st, 2007, 03:48 PM
Seles was badly injured when playing the Ericsson Open semifinals against Hingis in 2000, but played out the entire match, losing 6-0, 6-0 instead of retiring.

Yes, we were just discussing notable bagels by Hingis in hingis.org.
Very champion like for Seles to play injured in a final, a true fighter and champion!

I love this statement:
Hingis’ laudable record is no surprise either, according to Lloyd. “The bottom line is that the really good champions don’t feel they’re going to lose until the last point, so they never throw in the towel. I don’t ever remember Chris [Evert, to whom he was married] defaulting.

Farina Elia Fan
Mar 21st, 2007, 04:56 PM
Farina Elia retired against Golovin 6-0 30-0 down in Paris

bagpuss
Mar 21st, 2007, 05:24 PM
Petrova robbed me of a big win last week when she retired at 6-2 1-0 down to void my Tati bet. I've learnt my lesson - only bet against Petrova with bookies who don't void if the match is incomplete!

OrdinaryfoolisNJ
Mar 22nd, 2007, 04:39 PM
Yes, we were just discussing notable bagels by Hingis in hingis.org.
Very champion like for Seles to play injured in a final, a true fighter and champion!

I love this statement:
Hingis’ laudable record is no surprise either, according to Lloyd. “The bottom line is that the really good champions don’t feel they’re going to lose until the last point, so they never throw in the towel. I don’t ever remember Chris [Evert, to whom he was married] defaulting.


My favorite default would be Tom Gorman during a mid 70's Wimbledon. He quit when he was ailing while he was clearly about to win because he knew that he would no longer be competitive in the tournament overall and wanted to give his opponent the chance to keep going. Now THAT showed a true sportsman like attitude!!!!

I have a new respect for both Hingis and Seles. Graf also continued to play during that 1999 FO even though it was clear that she wasn't moving around well on her knee. Then Hingis had her meltdown allowing Steffi back in to win her last slam. The GOATS didn't always have to be at 100 percent to win, but they sure did win over an audience when they went out there and fought on through any pain or ailment (although I'd agree that its nuts to keep playing if you're risking career ending injury).

Evert kept playing during a couple of matches where she was clearly ill. One was Wimbledon against Kathy Jordan in the 4th round at Wimbledon (83?). I remember some commentator saying that Evert looked almost white that she was so pale, and wondered what was wrong with her. She not only took that loss on the chin, but when asked about her illness afterwards by reporters she said, "If I played on then I wasn't ill." Later it was learned that she had a stomach ailment.

I remember that Evert once defaulted before a round robin consolation match during one of the WTA champion tournaments in the early 80's, and she took all kinds of flak for it (how it hurt the tour and disappointed fans). She was in a position where she couldn't default without hurting the tour and her reputation!

Talula
Mar 22nd, 2007, 04:59 PM
Seles was badly injured when playing the Ericsson Open semifinals against Hingis in 2000, but played out the entire match, losing 6-0, 6-0 instead of retiring.

Yes, and the crowd actually booed Monica:sad: She was such a champ:worship:

Talula
Mar 22nd, 2007, 05:01 PM
Petrova's comments turn me off. She asks why she should continue. She should continue to play because the crowd has bought tickets to watch a match. What Petrova is actually saying is that she can't be arsed to continue.

Everytime she says something it confirms why I don't like her.

Talula
Mar 22nd, 2007, 05:02 PM
I've just remembered the most shocking retirement I have ever seen:

Justine in Australia 2006. :tape:

Sally Struthers
Mar 22nd, 2007, 05:02 PM
Petrova's comments turn me off. She asks why she should continue. She should continue to play because the crowd has bought tickets to watch a match. What Petrova is actually saying is that she can't be arsed to continue.

Everytime she says something it confirms why I don't like her.

agree! Petrova will never win a slam. She's just a loser deep down. :o

cellophane
Mar 22nd, 2007, 05:10 PM
Petrova's comments turn me off. She asks why she should continue. She should continue to play because the crowd has bought tickets to watch a match. What Petrova is actually saying is that she can't be arsed to continue.

Everytime she says something it confirms why I don't like her.

Did you read what she actually said?

“I was just not well. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t play my best tennis. The crowd would not enjoy. Why should I carry on?”

But then why bother reading what she said, when the comments would turn you off anyway.:shrug:

tennisjunky
Mar 22nd, 2007, 05:13 PM
they need to make the retirements more public. glad they did this article and it should be out there so that players who retire a lot get a reputation. more people should know so they get a stigma, maybe that will stop some players from doing it, when they don't need to.

way to go hingis!! impressive that shes played so much and never retired while losing.

Langers
Mar 22nd, 2007, 05:14 PM
Any match involving Petrova when she is down.

tennisjunky
Mar 22nd, 2007, 05:20 PM
They didn't mention Serena. She's retired from more than 10% of her losses as well.

"Serena Williams has twice retired within one or two games of losing," from the article. think one of those matches was to hingis, but in fairness they way serena continued at the championships was something that not many players would ever do. remember she could not even serve because of the pain. think serena loves the los angeles crowd, she did it for them and finished out the match.

OrdinaryfoolisNJ
Mar 22nd, 2007, 05:24 PM
Did you read what she actually said?

“I was just not well. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t play my best tennis. The crowd would not enjoy. Why should I carry on?”

In my opinion, its not always about playing her "best tennis," the point is hang in there and give your opponent their just victory. The crowd is going to respect a player who at least goes down to the wire. And Petrova will also find times when SHE is the victor against an opponent not able to "play her best tennis." No one is 100% every day, but true champs find a way to win even when they are not "playing their best."

Unless the player absolutely canNOT continue, they should not default. A true champion not only wins well but loses even better.

lecciones
Mar 22nd, 2007, 05:25 PM
"Serena Williams has twice retired within one or two games of losing," from the article. think one of those matches was to hingis, but in fairness they way serena continued at the championships was something that not many players would ever do. remember she could not even serve because of the pain. think serena loves the los angeles crowd, she did it for them and finished out the match.


It was at the Du Maurier Open of 2000
F H2H (4) WILLIAMS, SERENA 7 W 0-6 6-3 3-0 ret

I know of one retirement of Martina but its was in a tournament with no ranking points, and she retired not winning or not losing (in other words, a fair retirement):

1998 GRAND SLAM CUP HARD (I) S P. SCHNYDER 5-7 7-5 5-5 ret.

Talula
Mar 22nd, 2007, 05:36 PM
Did you read what she actually said?

“I was just not well. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t play my best tennis. The crowd would not enjoy. Why should I carry on?”

But then why bother reading what she said, when the comments would turn you off anyway.:shrug:

How does she know 'the crowd would not enjoy'? I still think she means she can't be bothered to continue!

Talula
Mar 22nd, 2007, 05:38 PM
In my opinion, its not always about playing her "best tennis," the point is hang in there and give your opponent their just victory. The crowd is going to respect a player who at least goes down to the wire. And Petrova will also find times when SHE is the victor against an opponent not able to "play her best tennis." No one is 100% every day, but true champs find a way to win even when they are not "playing their best."

Unless the player absolutely canNOT continue, they should not default. A true champion not only wins well but loses even better.

Absolutely:worship: Lots of players have continued while not being able to play their best out of self-respect and respect for their opponent.

cellophane
Mar 22nd, 2007, 05:40 PM
In my opinion, its not always about playing her "best tennis," the point is hang in there and give your opponent their just victory. The crowd is going to respect a player who at least goes down to the wire. And Petrova will also find times when SHE is the victor against an opponent not able to "play her best tennis." No one is 100% every day, but true champs find a way to win even when they are not "playing their best."

Unless the player absolutely canNOT continue, they should not default. A true champion not only wins well but loses even better.

Well, you know she's lost quite a few humiliating matches last summer when she was down, so she obviously doesn't always retire when she can't play her best tennis. :shrug: Anything else is pretty much speculation...

Also... obviously she isn't always playing her best tennis even when she is winning, but she can at least try. When she is injured, she can't play her best period and therefore there what's the point in trying if you know if you are risking further injury and you won't be able to bring your best even if you try? In Berlin last year she was injured, but kept fighting, because I assume she could at least make a go of it... and it was a final.

cellophane
Mar 22nd, 2007, 05:41 PM
How does she know 'the crowd would not enjoy'? I still think she means she can't be bothered to continue!

Okay... well like I said, you don't like her, so you can read it however you want. :shrug:

Frode
Mar 22nd, 2007, 05:41 PM
This reminds me of Venus against Radwanska last year. Venus demaged her wrist. She had surgery on it, not?. Venus was brave and completed the match despite the pain.

But what match? Radwanska took the second set 6-0. Venus could barely hit the ball.

Did the crowd enjoy that? I now a lot of people on this board probably would;)

In some cases I think retirement is OK.

As far as Nadia goes, I am just glad everytime we get ridd of her in a tournament.

Let the bad reps begin.

Talula
Mar 22nd, 2007, 05:47 PM
This reminds me of Venus against Radwanska last year. Venus demaged her wrist. She had surgery on it, not?. Venus was brave and completed the match despite the pain.

But what match? Radwanska took the second set 6-0. Venus could barely hit the ball.

Did the crowd enjoy that? I now a lot of people on this board probably would;)

In some cases I think retirement is OK.

As far as Nadia goes, I am just glad everytime we get ridd of her in a tournament.

Let the bad reps begin.

Without turning this into a Petrova bashing thread(!) I don't think you'get that many BAD reps!!

Uranus
Mar 22nd, 2007, 05:48 PM
What's the problem with players retiring while losing? You don't retire when leading 62 3-0 :lol: except if you fell and can't continue.

I think it's more questionable when you retire a game away from the loss. Except if you get badly injured and can't walk.
Was it Chakvetadze who retired facing MP last year vs. Voskoboeva? I think it's a shame, and for I know, it wasn't that serious :shrug:

cellophane
Mar 22nd, 2007, 05:51 PM
This reminds me of Venus against Radwanska last year. Venus demaged her wrist. She had surgery on it, not?. Venus was brave and completed the match despite the pain.

But what match? Radwanska took the second set 6-0. Venus could barely hit the ball.

Did the crowd enjoy that? I now a lot of people on this board probably would;)

Good for Venus... but if she continued, I guess she thought she could fight it out.


As far as Nadia goes, I am just glad everytime we get ridd of her in a tournament.

Let the bad reps begin.

You are not getting one from me.

lecciones
Mar 22nd, 2007, 05:52 PM
Retiring while losing looks bad, especially on paper, unless an asterisk with a pretty serious sounding legit reason is included, which normally will not appear. Besides why retire anyway? Retire you lose, don't retire you might lose. Only if your confident of yourself will you not have to retire. Unless you have a really bad injury like what happened to Pierce, or a bad stomach ache (or bowel movement LoL hahahaha).

Seenus
Mar 22nd, 2007, 06:01 PM
playing when badly hurt is in my opinion just dumb

cellophane
Mar 22nd, 2007, 06:02 PM
Absolutely:worship: Lots of players have continued while not being able to play their best out of self-respect and respect for their opponent.

So has Nadia :shrug: Granted... she was mad at herself and had a lousy attitude in those matches.

Last year

Akiko Morigami def. Nadia Petrova 6-2, 6-2
Virginia Ruano-Pascual 6-3, 6-2
Anna Chakvetadze 6-1, 6-4

Yonexforever
Mar 22nd, 2007, 06:03 PM
I'm so glad you started with Del Potro.. no one seems to have taken him to task for not playing a few more games, which threw the round robin into chaos.
He seems to CLEARLy know what he was doing by retiring, adn HE GOT AWAY with it!!!

Ellery
Mar 22nd, 2007, 06:27 PM
Nice article.

DOUBLEFIST
Mar 22nd, 2007, 06:52 PM
The Russian did not take a medical timeout until she had lost the first set 6-1. When allowed to speak to coach Michael Joyce as part of the WTA’s on-court coaching trial, she mentioned she was having problems while serving. “That is ridiculous, just hit your serve,” he replied. She led 30-0 in the opening game of the second set, but when her opponent got back to 30-30, Joyce was heard to yell: “quit, quit!”

Some interesting things in this exchange. Like, why would Joyce feel it was "ridiculous" if she had hurt her leg waaay back at the AO. :unsure: Surely, if she had hurt her hammy back in the AO- causing her serving problems- Joyce would have known it back then and wouldn't be calling it "ridiculous" in Bejing.

Of course, this whole thing could be the precusor to Joyce being fired (if he actually was). It be pretty dumb to not know your charge is injured.

OrdinaryfoolisNJ
Mar 23rd, 2007, 12:40 AM
Well, you know she's lost quite a few humiliating matches last summer when she was down, so she obviously doesn't always retire when she can't play her best tennis. :shrug: Anything else is pretty much speculation...

Also... obviously she isn't always playing her best tennis even when she is winning, but she can at least try. When she is injured, she can't play her best period and therefore there what's the point in trying if you know if you are risking further injury and you won't be able to bring your best even if you try? In Berlin last year she was injured, but kept fighting, because I assume she could at least make a go of it... and it was a final.

In my mind a player should NEVER quit just because they "aren't playing their best tennis!" I'm an old school tennis fan, and I've seen some pretty good players take some humiliating losses. Some even getting bageled (Martina Nav, BJK, ChrissieE). Some days a player's game just isn't working for whatever reason. OR, they aren't feeling 100%!

But suffering a humiliating loss is a different discussion from using an injury to cheat an opponent of a deserved win. I hope that no pro fakes an injury to avoid a bad loss (and get that "ret" notation in the record books instead of a full score). That would be a nail in the coffin for the game.

John Lloyd said that he used to tank when he was getting beat so that his opponent wouldn't "beat him" -- in his mind. But I bet that John took a lot more humiliating losses than his talent deserved because part of playing a match to the end is a respect issue with peers. If a player's peers lose respect for him or her - watch OUT! They'll try even harder next time to bagel him or her!

What we're discussing is what happens if a player simply isn't feeling 100%, or feels a twitch in a muscle, or even mildly cramping, and quits close to their opponent winning. Quitting in this circumstances cheats an opponent and fans. NO ONE in their right mind (and I said this in my post) would advocate continuing to play if a player would risk permanent or long term injury to themselves.

I remember a match where Jimmy Connors was literally vomiting courtside into a bucket between games and he didn't quit. He played it out. His opponent took the win, and Jimmy got the respect of everyone for trying his best (even if his best at the moment wasn't that great) under the worst of circumstances.

Part of being a successful player (dare I write "Champion) in the pro game in my opinion is having respect from your peers as well as the fans.

ezekiel
Mar 23rd, 2007, 01:10 AM
it's not professional to quit unless completelly physically unable to play , it's a job and in no job not even a sport can you just quit, it's simple.

starin
Mar 23rd, 2007, 01:19 AM
This reminds me of Venus against Radwanska last year. Venus demaged her wrist. She had surgery on it, not?. Venus was brave and completed the match despite the pain.

But what match? Radwanska took the second set 6-0. Venus could barely hit the ball.

Did the crowd enjoy that? I now a lot of people on this board probably would;)

In some cases I think retirement is OK.

As far as Nadia goes, I am just glad everytime we get ridd of her in a tournament.

Let the bad reps begin.

Venus was reduced to slicing her backhand. She got steamrolled in the second set. And even after playing it out despite having a serious wrist injury she still got booed. So if you're injured but can still sorta play but only well enough to get bagelled. Then might as well retire. Same difference. crowds not going to be entertained either way.