Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Drouet Diaries Part 2

The second part of Thomas Drouet's diary was posted today in the Australian press. It's not easy reading.

 photo 0f03c518-4f87-4b3f-b4ec-1da40045392b_zps9497abc7.jpg
Picture: ELLA PELLEGRINI Source: News Limited

I HAVE been many months with the team now and it doesn't seem to be getting any better. There are good days and bad days but mostly unpredictable days with John Tomic regularly blowing a fuse and yelling at all of us.

It's hard for me but I want it to work in the team. We want Bernard to succeed and he is a good guy but it's difficult. John doesn't pay me enough and sometimes I even have to pay excess baggage on flights even though I am carrying Bernard's things. But I continue with them.
Then the worst news, my only real friend in the team Salvador Sosa tells me he is leaving after Miami. He can't stand the humiliations anymore and the screaming. John doesn't let him work the way he wants, John doesn't let him do what he wants and then reproaches him for things related to Bernard's physical condition.

Salva told me he has had enough of all of them. "I can't do this with them anymore," he told me. He said: "Twenty-five years in this tennis world and this is the first time I see something like this".

I feel alone, lost, with Salva leaving.

He has been my confidante and we helped each other because it was very hard for both of us every day. I just have to try and remember what he told me about keeping on going, being patient and staying calm but it is more and more difficult because I am doing more and more things for the team. Book flight tickets, play with Bernard, give him drinks, give him his tablets, prepare his protein, carry his orange juice for him every morning, book practice courts, string rackets, make the booking for flights for all the team. It is more and more difficult.

Bernard does some stupid things but he is young. But most of the time, behind his father, he has tried to protect me and Salva. Each time after his father screams at us or whatever he would come to us and say "no, okay I like you guys, it's good, I'm good with you, don't worry". When he was doing this, it was good but sometimes Bernard was nervous when John attacks me and Salva. John I think thinks it is three against one. This is why he loses control. Maybe Bernard worries about this perception too.

For John I think it is a control thing too.

I remember when we were at the Gold Coast right at the start of this, John would cut off the internet at home so that we couldn't use it. I thought it was strange. He didn't want to give us the password so we could use the internet. We did get it but only via Bernard's sister Sara. It was a control thing.

John saw that between Bernard, Salva and me it was like a team within the team. That's what I think now and why when we were in Marseille he disappeared was because he wanted to cut the link, he wanted to make Bernard think things were going wrong with us because he is not there. He wanted to make out we were losers.

It was the same even when I am not around. When we are at Monte Carlo, I sleep in my own house, not in their house like at the Gold Coast or with them together in a hotel. So John has no power over me like when we are in a hotel and he rings me every two minutes, just all the time, any hour to go here, do this, go there. When I am at home, he knows I am with Sophie. This one time he rang us at home during dinner and tells me to go to him and pick up the rackets for the stringer the next morning. I tell him "but John there is no problem, I can collect tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock, there is no problem and I am having dinner with my family" and he said "no take it now, take it now". So there I go. I think he doesn't like having less power and wants this constant control.


There is a new guy starting, Josko Sillic who has worked with them before and will now replace Salva. I have to take care of his flight and pick him up from the airport. John initially says he isn't coming to Monte Carlo and then turns up anyway and insults me for not picking him up at the airport. John is just very tense. For me though less is requested because I am at home.

We train well as a team even though every morning at 8am John blows a fuse.

One players' evening someone does a sketch about the "incredible Tomic father" and everyone one makes fun of him. John actually gets into fits of laughter but he won't be talking to the guy who did the sketch anymore.

The yelling continues. The other players and coaches can see how I have been treated in the past six months, most ask me how I can stand it. It's a fair question. I tell them that I can find strength because I have a partner and kids (Sophie has two children aged 13 and nine and I have a son Timothe aged four) and a house to pay. I also want to hold on until the end of the season if I can because I want to become better known on the circuit.

Not a good time. Bernard is defeated in the first round of Monte Carlo Masters by Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-2, 6-4.


Without John. What more can I say, mood is good. Bernard has an infected hair on his thigh but wins his first match against Kenny De Schepper in three set thriller. Goes on into second round against Juan Monaco from Argentina.

The next day Bernard doesn't play well and is defeated by Monaco 6-0, 6-2 in less than 50 minutes.

Josko is there with us in Barcelona and Bernard says after dinner if he can leave us to talk to me alone. I'm wondering what it's all about but then he shows me a YouTube video of some man telling a story about how to become successful and self-improvement. It was like a motivational video. It was so honest a moment to see Bernard show me this. I tell Bernard he can do this but he has to work harder if he wants to be successful and at the top of his game. "It cannot just be on your talent," I say as I tell him about my experiences playing with Rafael Nadal who so impressed me with his professionalism and rigour. He says "yeah you are right from now on I am going to practice every day, every day". I am really happy. I think maybe we find the solution and he is evolving. After an hour and a half of really honest talk he suddenly says "Okay Thomas now we go and party together and drink a lot to cement and celebrate these good words and we can start again on a healthy basis." I tell him "no, now we go to the arms of Morpheus, celebrate in Morpheus' arms", meaning we go to sleep.

Bernard just looks at me blankly and asks "who is Morpheus?". He thinks it is a girl at the tournament.


On the Monday before Madrid we are doing hard training for five minutes but Bernard is not listening to his father and John suddenly stops the training session. "Practice finish!" he yells. He tells me to leave the court and Bernard trains alone.

On the Tuesday we are on Court 10 and it is the same thing, John stops the training session this time 10 minutes in after Bernard tells him "you can sit on the bench, but don't talk, you don't give any advice, I don't need you".

John again says that practice is over and tells me to put my rackets in the bag. Bernard tells me to stay but John again tells me practice is over. I'm standing there not sure what to do. John tells Bernard if he doesn't want to listen then he will not play. Bernard comes to the net and John is screaming at him and Bernard answers back and tells him again to sit on the bench and not talk.

John is furious and then - pow! One punch. I couldn't believe what I was seeing, right there just in front of me. Bernard doesn't say anything but has tears in his eyes. John walks away and rests two rackets on an angle against the wall then snaps his foot down on them breaking them. Crack, crack - breaks both rackets and tells Bernard that he doesn't play tournaments now for three weeks and tells me to cancel all the flight tickets. Bernard sees this and then breaks his racket. My God, these people, it's crazy. Josko is picking up the balls and doesn't seem to see anything. I want to help Bernard because I can see the tears and he isn't saying anything and I really want to help him. I remember in Marseille I did tell him "you have to tell your father it's finished" and for me maybe no more tournaments, but it's not possible to see this all the time anymore. I can see even for Bernard he is stressed all the time because he never knows how John is going to react. I have seen so much of this now, almost six months and I am really sad for Bernard because inside I think he wants to do something but he can't. When he says to John "no you sit on the bench and not talk to me" you can see he is trying to say stop but John is manipulating him all the time.

Yes I broke Salva's rule not to get involved between father and son. In the beginning I just try to show him the way but don't say anything but then when I saw the punch I couldn't hold it in anymore. I tell Bernard "I know it's your father but do something you can't let this go on".

John was very nervous in Monte Carlo already thinking Bernard might tell him to go. Tension in the team is high.


On the morning of our departure for Madrid I drop by Bernard's to help John pack up his suitcases to avoid what had happened in Marseille. John is at the window and says "we don't need you, go buy some milk" and I answer "no we are going to be late".

Sophie must drive John and I to the airport because he doesn't want to pay for a taxi while Bernard and Josko are driven by a friend of Bernard's to the airport in Nice.

I arrive at the Tomics' place with Sophie at 10.20am.

At 10.40am John comes over to the car, mad with anger and insults me saying "why didn't you go buy some milk, why didn't you come upstairs to pick up my suitcases". Right there, humiliated in front of my girlfriend, I get out of the car and stand up to him and tell him that I can't stand him talking this way to me anymore. He treats me like a dog.

He blows a fuse, tells me I am not going to Madrid, that I am fired, that he won't pay me. Seeing that, my girlfriend gets out of the car, and says to him "so you made me come here, I have better things to do, my kids are home alone so get in the car now".

He goes off to phone someone and I wait five minutes to let things cool down. I take his suitcase and put them in the boot. Luckily it's a short drive to the airport.

Then a scandal at the airport's Terminal 1 and everyone is shocked by John as he starts again screaming at me and saying he is cancelling my ticket. After 10 minutes I go back to the car but I want to say to John what I think of him to him.

We finally take off but John starts again verbally abusing me on the plane. It's incredible.

"Okay we will sort this out physically in Madrid because you won't be in your country this time and we will see if you are that clever and outspoken," he says to me.

We make our way to the hotel in central Madrid. In front of the hotel John asks me to put my bag down and to follow him outside. We walk to the side of the hotel. I thought he was going to say sorry for the verbal abuse. He looks around all the time which I think is weird. There is no-one around. He tells me "tell me again what you said this morning". I tell him again about how he thinks he is such a "big man, a real man but okay John that's fine Bernard will pay me to be his partner". He spits in my face. I wipe the spit away as he walks away and I tell him again what a big man he is and he suddenly turns and head butts me. I remember yelling help as I fall.

He then continues walking back into the hotel reception as if nothing has happened. I am told later I am out unconscious for a few minutes and when I come too Josko is there as well as Alexadr Dolgopolov the tennis player. Someone has called police and an ambulance.

I am taken to a hospital in Madrid. It's all very confusing. I don't speak Spanish and I am there for six hours and they do tests, give me stitches to the nose but there is a pain in my cervical vertebrae that has me very worried.

Bernard comes to see me at the hospital with Josko, and tells me that his father has gone too far, and that he will put him on the plane the next day, and that he no longer wants the presence of his father by his side. He said he wants to be alone in the team with just Josko and me. I go to police later and file a complaint until 2am. The next day at breakfast there is a change of attitude and Bernard tells me that if I sue his father, he will be on his side and they can afford to pay for lawyers whereas I can't. He's probably right there.

The next day and we are all at court. I am alone, lost, no lawyer. My nose is taped up and I have a brace on my neck. Outside the courtroom John's lawyer tries to negotiate. There is talk of 3000 euros compensation. I refuse and John later backs off and argues self-defence.

I get an SMS message from Bernard who says he is sorry and he is sad for what has happened. I am surprised by the message, then another, then a third from Bernard, saying he wants to meet with me and my girlfriend in Monaco. As I get off the plane in Nice to make the drive to Monaco, Josko calls me and tells me "whatever you do don't go to this meeting, it's a set up, John is manipulating Bernard and (John) wants you to blow a fuse. I don't go to the meeting, no more news from Bernard.

I return to Monaco and have further tests, scans, seeing specialists, sports consultants and everything is more serious than I originally thought. I have a whole written report about the injuries. It's not good reading.

I am depressed now and I know I am not eating. I have lost five kilos in two weeks. Obviously there is no more work for me.

I decide to go to Roland Garros for the French Open and see if I can find a job. I read a story in L'Equipe newspaper about Marion Bartoli not having a coach and hitting partner. It would be a good to get a job with her team. She is fantastic.

At Roland Garros John is banned from the stadium grounds and when he tries to get in he is sent off.

Later at Eastbourne I come across John. I feel uneasy, I am fearful, I look behind me every 30 seconds. I tell the ATP and they give me a bodyguard to follow me discreetly from a distance. He is supposed to be banned but is here.


John is suspended for at least a year by the ATP from attending future tournaments.

One evening I am walking and stop by the local Starbucks. At this point I don't know about the decision of the ATP. There I am on the phone and I can feel someone pushing the chair in front of me and sitting at my table. It's Bernard. He wants to talk to me. I am fearful and instinctively look behind me to see if John is there too. Bernard tells me he is unhappy with the ATP's decision and that the ATP should protect him. I think I am completely imagining this and ask him if he realises what his father has done. He has already forgotten that a month and a half ago I was laying on the ground in Madrid unconscious and covered in blood because of his father.

He apologises once more for what his father has done, but tells me it's his father and he loves him.

I tell him "OK you are allowed to love your father but at least admit to his mistakes". He agrees and he asks me how it is going with Bartoli. It is fantastic. I love working with her and her team. They are so professional and I realise this is how it should be. She is a wonderful tennis player, she listens and is always trying her hardest to improve her game. She has a fantastic attitude and outlook.

I just tell him it's fine. Then we shake hands goodbye, and I wish him good luck for the tournament. I feel he is relieved that he has come to speak to me and received a non-aggressive reaction. He seems relaxed.

I am carrying on with Marion and I think we work well together, peacefully and joyfully. She is a smart girl, lovely, and a hard worker ... it's a big change compared to what I was used to before. Her efforts and talent see her win through to the finals. I am being interviewed by the press for positive reasons now and not what happened with the Tomics. Marion wins the title. I could not be happier.

For seven months with the Tomics and almost every day it was like a nightmare. I am glad I have kept a diary because people don't know. I couldn't stand any more how he spoke to me. He had no respect for me. I think the worst thing for me was every day when I woke up I tried to do my best for Bernard and even with this he did not have respect, not one time "oh that's good", nothing. The more I did my job the less he paid me and the less respect he had for me. I would manage 90% of Bernard's daily schedule, John only came to the court to yell and tell his son he was a good for nothing.

I wish Bernard the best.

End Notes

There is no doubt that to many, lets say most readers, the story Mr. Drouet tells about what is going on around Bernard Tomic and why he's underperformed despite being a very talented player is disturbing. You can include shocking and disgusting too.

But there are those who seem to think this behavior is okay. As with anything on the net you have to take comments with a grain of salt because you don't really know who the person is and what interests he represents.

There are those who take a sociological approach and talk about cultural mores in Eastern Europe specifically in the Balkans. Others see nothing wrong with John Tomic trying to turn a hitting partner into a glorified servant there to do all the things a manager or coach is responsible for.

Tomic's behavior is excused by both Drouet and some of the seemingly self appointed defenders of the Tomic's. His lack of discipline is seen as part of growing up not as making it difficult for him to compete with the top players who for the most part are disciplined.

Drouet's comments about his tenure with Marion Bartoli are revealing since many fans considered her a bit of a flake.

Some are asking why Drouet would publish his diary. Could it be that he was afraid something would happen, that he would be accused of doing something after being provoked and needed something to document what happened? So far he hasn't made a statement.

It's easy for people to say he should've just quit but when dealing with someone like John Tomic even that becomes problematic. Drouet wanted to establish his bona fides in the tennis world and the way to do it was to take on a permanent position with a player. He wanted to care for his family and felt that the way to success was latching on to a star.

It's going to be interesting to see what reaction comes from Australian tennis sources. Again, I won't hold my breath.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Thomas Drouet Diaries

by Savannah

 photo thomasdrouetbrokennose_zps88b2fdde.jpg
Source: Ella Pellegrini Source: News Limited

So Thomas Drouet kept a diary about his time with Bernard Tomic and his father John Tomic. The entries that have been published make you understand who Bernard and his father are and why he's not the star Tennis Australia thought they would be.

November 2012

A 27-hour trip and I am feeling really jet-lagged. I barely arrive and there is a fit of anger from John because Bernard is playing on his PlayStation.


For the first two weeks there's minimum three to four hours training a day. John has multiple fits of anger during training. Bernard and John are always yelling. I am just very busy playing tennis, preparing drinks and muscle building, but the physical trainer from Barcelona, Salvador Sosa, arrives. He is very well known and respected on the circuit. This is a good team.

Almost immediately John abuses Salva on court because he dares to lean up against a wall. He makes him run after all the balls. Salva is in his early 60s but does as he is told.

Bernard, too, tells me to run or stay home. If I win a point, he then plays 10 drop shots and if I don't run each time there's drama. The pressure is constant.

PAY CUT CHRISTMAS with the Tomics.

I miss my family, but I'm happy on the tour. Then John tells me there is to be a salary change. It's Christmas, but he tells me he is dropping my wage from Euro1200 (about $A1720) a week to Euro1000. My food is also supposed to be paid for, but I have to pay for it myself.

"I pay you too much," John says. "If you don't want, you can go home".

I quit my job at the Monte Carlo Country Club as manager for the competition group and I can't go back. I don't know why this has happened. But John has more news. He tells me he won't pay me a wage for Christmas Day because we did not train. Salva and I tell him that's not the point, that we are here in Australia away from home and a salary is for each day we are away.

Bernard tells him to pay, maybe he will or won't, but I'm starting to think probably not.

I know now that I have made a mistake when I told John how I quit everything to be here. Now I sense John knows he has me, as I have nothing else to go to. But I have an ex-wife and a child and house to pay and I have to work.

I will keep going. It's still early days. It will get better.

One day after seven hours on court, John blows a fuse.

John asks me to play a set with Bernard. He tells me to play as hard as I can and to bug him as much as I can. He tells me that if I win more than three games in the set, he (Bernard) will run back home.

Caught up between my fear of John and my compassion for Bernard, I play the best I can for fear of retaliation and win the set. Bernard is furious with me, breaks a racquet and the father orders him to run home ... great atmosphere.


Exhibition tournament in Perth Arena and we are alone with Bernard; he wins his three games. John isn't there and it is a good atmosphere, good work.

Bernard beats Novak Djokovic 6-4 6-4 in their Hopman Cup clash. Fantastic. It's just about tennis and not all the other stuff I have seen.

Bernard's regime is strict, whether it is eating or drinking. For preparation of the drinks, I must have 2 litres of specific mixes: in 50cl, 1.5 spoonfuls of XTEN, 2 spoonfuls of Endura, give Bernard two pills 45 minutes before the match, three big white pills 15 minutes before the match, during the warm up of a match, at the beginning (of a match) a blue sachet, then in the middle (of the match) an orange one. If the powder dosage is not exactly respected and the bottles not taken out at the last minute I get yelled down

I must put Bernard's racquets in a cold room before the match and pull them out at the last minute. They are breaking racquets all the time. If John doesn't like a racquet he just breaks it.


Bernard wins his first ATP Tour title.

We all celebrate. Tomic wins, brilliant. There is a great feeling, everybody on a high and happy.

We are still in the tennis centre in the evening when John walks in and shows us the prize money paper. We think initially he is showing us as part of the celebration. Like, "Look at this prize money - yay!"

But no. "You see how much taxes I pay?" he says. "I give you too much money, I will pay you less". Our spirits drop.

Unbelievable. He leaves us deflated.


The Australian Open and my girlfriend Sophie (Lombard) comes over and I have to lie and leave my hotel room in the evening at 11pm to meet her at her hotel and then get up before 6am to make sure I give Bernard his fresh orange juice in his room every morning.

I knock, he tells me to "fuck off", but I have to say, "Can you drink this and take your energy pills, please Bernard". As much tension in the team as ever.

John is like jealous or something.

If I can slip out to see Sophie, I go like a spy to her hotel looking left and right to make sure John doesn't see me. How weird. Sometimes I can't go because we are still working. Tension, tension, always tension.

Every day, it's a new crazy scene.

Bernard is horrible during the training before the match against (Roger) Federer. He tells me to run, to play right, play left, treats me like a dog.

Maybe it's the pressure.

I remember back on the Gold Coast, in the evening Salva and I would stick together, drinking a beer on the terrace, the only moment of calmness for both of us.

One evening, I remember we are chatting and we see Bernard coming down around 11pm. He tells us, "What the hell are you doing here, go to bed".

Then later on, Bernard tells us that he often escapes at night to go see his friends. We then understand why it takes 30 minutes to get him out of bed every morning.

Off court, Bernard runs into trouble with his Ferrari and the police; went out to night clubs every weekend.


THE Tomics arrive in Monaco and I must pick them up at Nice airport at my own expense.

Bernard, meanwhile, had partied like crazy after the Australian tournament season and when he comes back he has lost 2-3kg of muscles.

Salva and I see him, and "Oh my god, who is this?"

Bernard doesn't want to do anything now. Salva fights to get him to do sprints. I watch as they go to this long track near the courts. Bernard runs like he is at a marathon, just a slow jog. Mr 50 per cent. He is like a zombie.

It is now five days before the Marseille and Rotterdam tournaments. He has worked only for five days training, not enough.

Four months in and I am very stressed. I never know how John will behave from one day to the next. Every day you never know how he is going to react to something or how he is going to behave, maybe nice, maybe not. Always it's stress, every day stress.


IT'S cold, it's snowing and Bernard loses in the first round against Grigor Dimitrov.

He is playing only 50 per cent because he is tired and didn't do anything after the Australian Open.

That night I go to John's room ... Salva, me and John - and John starts to cry.

He has tears, he genuinely is upset.

"Bernard doesn't want me anymore, it's finished I might as well go home," he says. Salva and I console him ... inside, though, we want him to go home and we want Bernard to say this.

Every day, we think today is the day maybe Bernard tells him to go home.

We can't say that, but we wish it. We know the problem is John, but, as Salva says, if you do one mistake it will be to try to separate them. "Coming between them, you are dead, let Bernard do it for himself," he tells me.


JOHN blows a fuse because I don't go upstairs to fetch the suitcases and he threatens to leave me back in Monaco and to exclude me from the team.

Bernard comes down and says, "Everybody shut up".

He asks why I am out (of the team) and can't believe it is because I didn't carry John's bags.

If it isn't me, John attacks Salva.

But then suddenly it's like he forgets that. He then starts to tell Salva that whoever gets to Marseille before 7pm first, the other pays for dinner. Salva uses it as a joke to lighten the mood. John just makes for the car and starts to drive crazy. I don't know, 160km/h maybe. Really, really fast. He really wants to win.

We head for our rooms and John tells us to be back downstairs in 20 minutes to eat. John takes two whiskies and a main and dessert, then asks for the bill which is Euro150. He hands it to Salva and says "you lost the bet, so you pay". We know he doesn't have the money. I feel so bad, so when we are back in the room I give him 20 euro for what I ate, and Bernard, too, gives him 15-20 euro. Bernard didn't feel good either.

Early morning training and Bernard breaks a racquet because John is insulting him. It's all back to normal.

John takes me apart because he saw me at breakfast with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. He says, "Who pays you, Tsonga or me?"

Then he just disappears. I don't know what happened to John, but the day before Tsonga and after the match against Somdev Devvarman, John says we practice. Bernard does not want to listen to him.

John screams at me. "You don't play with him then, Thomas."

Bernard tells me to play.

I am standing there with a racquet and ball in hand and I don't know what to do. Bernard was telling me aggressively, "You play now". John is yelling at me, "No you don't play".

Then they yell at each other and Bernard starts whacking his racquet ... bam, bam, bam bam ... over and over on the court.


WE depart for Indian Wells and I am in charge of the logistics.

We arrive in New York, Bernard doesn't have the right visa, he talks down to the customs officers and is taken to the station for four hours. We miss our connecting flight.

Eventually he comes out and I negotiate with the girl at the desk, who puts us on the flight to Phoenix the next day.

Bernard tells us that we can sleep at the airport, that he has booked a hotel in New York and he is going to have a party with his mates.

Salva and I are stupefied as we are left to sleep on a chair all night. I take a photo. It's incredible.


JOHN buys a BB gun at a supermarket because he says he wants to go hunting. I laugh and say, "Okay, let's buy it". We go fishing, there is a big lake here and after practice we relax and fish then we just shoot dirt.

Then we come back home and Bernard says, "Who is the biggest man now, we are going to shoot each other". He says it as a joke.

John says I will do it, and he just pulls the gun and shoots him. He bleeds in his legs.

Then Bernard says, "Now you do it ... you do it or you are not a man." So John does it.

Then they shoot on Salva, too. Now they say to me it's my turn ... but I go to my room first and put four or five pairs of shorts on and then they shoot me, too, but I don't really feel it.

We make a video of it and it seems funny at the time. It's fun crazy.


BERNARD is supposed to train with Kei Nishikori but turns it into a scandal. He doesn't want to play with him, so he tanks it. They are doing this practice to find their rhythm, but Bernard just whacks it back, and he loses 6-1 in 10 minutes. Nishikori is really pissed off.

His coach tells me after we will never want to play with him again. Bernard doesn't like to practice with other tournament players.

Bernard is up against Andy Murray. It should have been a good game. Bernard starts well, but then misses the 40-15 break and after that he just lets go of the match.

I think 80 per cent of his defeats are either by abandonment (he gives up) or by injury, although his nickname is tank machine.

That's what people call him behind his back after John McEnroe said he tanked it against Andy Roddick during the 2012 US Open. Everybody jokes about him as "the tank".


Before we discuss who has what personality disorder here is a definition of sociopathy versus psychopathy

Sociopathy and psychopathy share many traits, which is the main source of confusion for differentiating them in psychology. Traits that sociopaths and psychopaths share include:

  • a disregard for the rights of others
  • a failure to feel remorse or guilt
  • a disregard for laws and social mores
  • a tendency to display violent behavior and emotional outbursts

Though not all psychology professionals agree on what exactly differentiates sociopaths from psychopaths, among those who believe each are separate disorders there is a list of definite differences. Sociopaths tend to be nervous and easily agitated. They are likely to be uneducated and live on the fringes of society, unable to hold down a steady job or stay in one place. Some sociopaths form attachments to an individual or group, though they have no regard for society in general. In the eyes of others, sociopaths appear clearly disturbed. Any crimes committed by a sociopath tend to be disorganized and spontaneous.

Psychopaths, on the other hand, often have charming personalities. They are manipulative and easily gain people’s trust. They have learned to mimic emotion and so appear “normal” to other people. Psychopaths are often educated and hold steady jobs. Some are so good at manipulation and mimicry that they can have families and other long-term relationships without those around them ever suspecting their true nature.

Psychopaths, when committing crimes, carefully plan out every detail and often have contingency plans in place. Because of this marked difference between the method of crimes committed by sociopaths and psychopaths, the distinction between these disorders is perhaps even more important to criminology than it is to psychology.

Another belief among some professionals is that the etiology of the disorders is different. According to David Lykken, a behavioral geneticist known for his studies on twins, psychopathy stems from a physiological defect in the brain that results in the underdevelopment of the part of the brain responsible for impulse control and emotions. Sociopathy is more the product of childhood traumas and abuse. According to this model, some professionals believe that sociopaths are capable of empathy, but only in specific contexts.

For example, sociopaths may attach their loyalty to a person or group and will feel empathy for or not hurt those people to which they are attached. Psychopaths, however, have an inability to feel empathy and are just as likely to hurt their family and friends as they are strangers. Other psychologists make these same distinctions, but define them as primary psychopathy and secondary psychopathy.

I wonder what Tennis Australia has to say about this? Probably nothing. At least I haven't found any official comment. I'm sure none of this is news to them. And keep in mind that Tomic senior got an eight month suspended sentence for his attack on Drouet. And he's fighting it.


Ladies we all have that relationship tucked deeply away in our psyche. You know what I'm talking about. The one that everyone told you was bad for you, wrong for you, that would leave you in a very bad place and doubting your self worth. Most of us have gotten through the psychological damage done by that relationship and gone on to form healthy and stable ones.

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So lets not judge okay? She'll hopefully come out of this a better woman. After all most of us make it okay right?

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For those of you who threw up a little in your mouth Thera Breath by Dr Katz works wonders.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Rearview Mirror: The 2013 US Open

by Savannah

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via Elsa/Getty Images North America)

In a bruising conclusion to tennis's Grand Slam season, Rafael Nadal overcame Novak Djokovic in four sets, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, to win the U.S. Open. The turning point in the match came in the eighth game of the third set, when Djokovic failed to convert a triple break point after Nadal had slipped and fallen. When asked how he kept his nerve in the moment, Nadal said, "I was sipping on Cava back in Mallorca, as I am wont to do, when I was startled by a passing lark. In the moment I dropped my glass, and it clattered upon my tile floor, yet did not shatter. And I said to myself, 'Rafa, did the glass break?' And then I said, 'No, Rafa, the glass did not break.' And then I said, 'Rafa, is Rafa not stronger than glass?' And then I said, 'Yes, Rafa. Rafa is stronger than glass.' And that's when everything changed for me."
Quote found on

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via Clive Brunskill Getty Images

The conversation has changed. I read a lot of comments about how dull the 2013 US Open was and asked myself what tournament they were watching? It couldn't be the one I was privileged to see that ran from August 26 to September 9 2013. A tournament that saw the death throes of US Mens tennis even as US women are poised to make a big splash in the next three to five years. There may be a kid laboring in a public park somewhere trying to make the best of his game but you can bet the USTA will never find him.

It saw the end of the illusions being harbored in Australia about it's women's tennis (Samantha Stosur) and it's men's tennis (Bernard Tomic).

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via Matther Stockman Getty

It couldn't be the tournament that saw a young Haitian American girl named Victoria Duval captivate the crowd on Louis Armstrong Stadium on a cool summer night bringing the crowd screaming to its feet with a masterful dismantling of one of the top women players in the world.

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via Getty Images

It certainly wasn't the tournament that had tennisheads ranting on Twitter about being unable to watch two fifteen year old girls, a young Croatian named Ana Konjuh and a young American named "Tornado" Alicia Black.

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via Maddy Meyer Getty

The same malcontents wanted to see a kid named Borna Coric play. He's all of sixteen.

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Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY)

Not only did Andrea Hlavackova win the Mixed Doubles title with Max Mirnyi but she had the audacity to turn around and win the Women's Doubles title partnering with Lucie Hradecka.

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Matthew Stockman Getty Images

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via David Cummings AP

Adding insult to injury a couple of geezers named Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek won the trophy most of the US commentators had already given to the Bryan twins.
An aside. The USTA really needs to rethink the demands put on US players by the US Open series. As you know the Europeans only come for the Premier or Masters events so it falls on US players to pick up the slack and bring in paying customers. The Bryans, loyal to their Federation had played a lot of tennis coming into the US Open. They did the best they could do.

But that's an aside.

I don't like to write the Grand Slam reviews right away because when they're over, especially when this one is over, there is such a let down. For two weeks there was wall to wall tennis. Two and a half if you count the Qualifying event which is now streamed. There are tournaments this week and Davis Cup at the end of the week but it's hard to get too enthusiastic right after a Slam ends.

Not writing right away also gives you time to think. And I kept coming back to these people who kept saying that the US Open was a bust. I tried to see how they could say that after everything that happened but I realized what was motivating them. An era has died. The final nail was hammered into the coffin of the tennis of the 1970's, 1980's, 1990's and early 00's.
It's gone. There will always be serve and volley but it's not the only way to play any more. The iconoclasts of this new era aren't wedded to the courts and play they demanded. The racquet's won't let them live in the past. And not everyone is happy about it. I never thought I'd see players sliding on hard courts but they are right? It's going to change the hard court game. Has changed it. Our players can't slide on dirt let alone a hard court. It's not supposed to be done is it?

You hear the nostalgia for the old days in the commentary booth, especially when you're listening to the men and women considered the top of the heap in the United States. They can't analyze what's going on on court because they're too busy trying to make the viewer see the play through forty year old lens. What is happening on court is incomprehensible to them so they joke among themselves, talk about incidents that happened when they were in their prime, anything but describe the modern tennis game.

There are exceptions. Chanda Rubin and Taylor Dent are excellent commentators but the only way you heard them was if you watched online streams. I don't mean to slight any of the Tennis Channel commentators but I don't have that channel so I can only go by what I had access to. Chanda and Taylor have no problems talking about the modern game and breaking it down so even those who think they know it all see the game in a different light. That is what commentary is supposed to be about.

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Jaime L. Mikle/Getty Images

An old sports show in the United States had a slogan that has now become a cliché. During the opening credits the narrator, Jim McKay, would talk about "the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat".

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via Getty

To see grown men and women leap for joy because their hard work, their physical pain, and yes their loneliness and their sacrifice has not been for nothing is something that brings tears to the eyes of many tennis fans, especially this one. When you have two players who have been maligned, called cheats, malingerers, accused of not being loyal to the sport that has made them rich, when you see them come back from what could have been career ending injuries and illness and despite all the noise focus on the goal they've set for themselves and fight through seven matches to win, this is what people pay to see, want to see. It's this that makes tennis great.

It's not treason to cheer for a player from another country. It's not being divisive to point out the way some players are treated. These arguments are made by those who are upset that tennis has moved out of the country clubs of the United States, Britain and Australia and into the world. Tennis has been embraced by the world and it's time for those who ruled in the past to realize the parade has moved on and that they need to get over it. It's you who have to adjust not the rest of the world. The era of the player who rolls out of bed and onto the court is over. If that's the kind of player you want to create fine. They can play each other in what amount to second tier tournaments.

The rest of us will cheer for who we like when we like and how we like. Hopefully one day you'll join in the fun.

End Note

I haven't forgotten the other matches and players. Here is a list of the winners I haven't listed above.

Boys' Doubles
Kamil Majchrzak / Martin Redlicki
Girls' Doubles
Barbora Krejčíková / Kateřina Siniaková
Wheelchair Men's Singles
Stéphane Houdet
Wheelchair Women's Singles
Aniek van Koot
Wheelchair Quad Singles
Lucas Sithole
Wheelchair Men's Doubles
Michael Jeremiasz / Maikel Scheffers
Wheelchair Women's Doubles
Jiske Griffioen / Aniek van Koot
Wheelchair Quad Doubles
David Wagner / Nick Taylor


Jon Wertheim dropped a bit of insider information that seems to have gone unremarked upon.

Off the court during the U.S. Open, a fierce battle was fought between the WTA and four "joint events" (outside the Slams) that disburse equal prize money. While the purses are equal at these events, under a seldom-mentioned agreement, the WTA repays the tournaments for the shortfall in commercial benefit compared to the ATP. The terms of that agreement were renegotiated last week. According to multiple sources, the agreement is close to being finalized. (Discuss: Does this not give the lie to equal prize money? I can pay my kids the same allowance of $10 and technically say it's equal wages, but if my wife then reimburses me $4 because one child does fewer chores, is it disingenuous to claim parity?)

The answer is yes, it's disingenuous.

I also wonder why not much attention has been paid to this arrangement by fans or media. It's always possible that I missed some commentary but I think this is a pretty big deal, especially since the WTA is going to be based in Asia for most of the remaining season.

That alone deserves a full column of it's own. I just wanted to plant that seed in your mind.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

2013 US Open Women's Final

by Savannah

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via David Goldman AP

Top seed. Top ranked. Best (you could say the only) server in the WTA. Serena Jameka Williams finds herself right back where she was about this time last year. Can anyone argue about how dominating she's been over the last couple of weeks? She's overcome shitty scheduling (although to be honest it was better for her to play her doubles semi yesterday and take advantage of two full days off) and wannabes who don't have half of her work ethic.

Some in tennis are arguing over whether or not she's changed her game, the effect of Patrick Mouratoglou not only on her game but on court demeanor, and where she stands among the all time greats, an argument that is silly because you can only be great in the generation in which you played but people indulge in it anyway.

My opinion? Serena has changed her game. She had to. She's 31 now. She's had health problems that would've seen some cowering in the corner and making excuses about losses. Did Patrick initiate the changes? I think he gave her the confidence to proceed with what she had to do. There is no doubt her footwork has improved. That has led to improved movement on court. She is also obviously out thinking her opponents and adjusting her play during a match. That was obvious in how she adjusted to an inspired Li Na in the second set Friday afternoon. The commentators were too busy chit chatting about who knows what and never once commented on how she stepped in on Li's second serves in that set. I guess they figured their conversation was more important than the match. Or they still see her the way she was ten years ago. I really think that American commentators have no idea how to call a match if a player isn't a servebot. Increasingly that means that they know how to call a John Isner match but not any others since players are moving away from that style of play.

But none of that detracts from what Serena brings to the WTA now. She's a mature, confident, more than competent player at the moment. She's also going to be fully rested on Sunday.

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via Emmanuel Dunand Getty

Victoria Fiodorovna Azarenka is ranked #2 in the WTA. Has she earned it? Yes she has. For the first time in a long time there is no dispute about the top two in the WTA. Victoria has won Slams. She's beaten players she should beat. She is never going to win Miss Congeniality for her on court behavior but is she talented? Yes. Does she have the will to win? Definitely.

There was quite a bit of controversy this US Open about her raising her racquet every time one of her opponents in order to disrupt her serve. It wasn't a ten minute medical time out to stop her from choking away a match but it's one of the reasons fans have not warmed up to Azarenka. It didn't start with the medical time out fiasco though. For me it started when she threw a tantrum in Australia a few years back and went after the chair umpire and almost hit a lines person. She doesn't do things like that anymore but it can be said that she "cheats within the rules".

That said she's made it to the US Open Final for the second year in a row, doing it while not playing her best tennis. Her semifinal against Flavia Pennetta showed that she doesn't need to resort to cheating in order to win. She worked Pennetta over, not letting her set up so that she could get off her best shot combination while moving her all over the court and tiring her out. But Azarenka's serving was awful. If she didn't execute the rest of her game she would've been in trouble. The first set was one of the worst I've seen in a semifinal match. Break after break after break.

I don't do predictions. I will say that the USTA, by making sure that both players are equally rested coming into the Final has done one of the best things it could do not only for players but for the sport. It should be a good match.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

2013 US Open: The Ladies Final Four

by Savannah

The Bottom Half

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via AP

I don't think that it's too much of a surprise that Victoria Azarenka, the #2 seed, made it to the semi finals. She came into the US Open on a bit of a tear having defeated Serena Williams in Cincinnati. Beating Serena she was agile, mobile and totally dialed in. So the Open should've been a cake walk to the semi's for her right? No. Instead she's struggled badly at times and while she obviously won the five matches she's played so far the bottom half of the draw was considered the softer of the two and yet both Alizé Cornet and Ana Ivanovic took her to three sets. She's been sluggish and her movement hasn't been the best. She moved better during her quarterfinal match against Daniela Hantuchova who, while having no real weapons against her still managed to give her a bit of a hard time.

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No one expected Flavia Pennetta to be in the Final Four. Why would they? She was the top Italian player a few years back but injury had dropped her to the second tier of the main tour. Of course, being European, she wasn't expected to do all that well in Flushing Meadows.
Only one other woman coming into the semi's has played consistent tennis.

Flavia steamrolled Nicole Gibbs of the United States and then faced her country woman Sara Errani who admitted after her loss that she is not enjoying the pressure of being a top player one bit. She might enjoy it more if she ironed out some of the kinks in her game - no serve - but she seemed after the match to want to go in her room, close the blinds and curl up in the fetal position on her bed.

Back to Flavia. After defeating a fading Svetlana Kuznetsova Flavia faced Simona Halep, a player who had been on fire coming into the Open. I thought Flavia would lose here but she needed a second set tiebreak to defeat Halep. Her Round of 16 match was against another country woman, her long time friend Roberta Vinci. Vinci couldn't handle the situation and it's Flavia who is into the semi final.

On paper this should be a romp for the woman they call Vika. A lot of matches are romps on paper. You can criticize the weakness of the bottom half of the draw but since they're "random" there isn't anything to say right? You play whoever is standing across the net from you. With Vika's form coming into the semifinals and Flavia being a first timer in this situation in my mind this match is a toss up. Vika should win. But I won't be surprised if she doesn't.

The Top Half

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via AFP

Li Na. Serena has admitted to having alter egos, personalities that are very different from her normal one. She's given them names. Ms Li's fans have provided her with one. her name is Madame Li. Madame Li takes no shit. She is focused, moves well, and controls the court. Li Na, not so much.

Li's path to the semifinals saw her play Olga Govortsova and Sofia Arvidsson before facing the much hyped Laura Robson. She easily defeated all three women. Her next opponent was one Jelena Jankovic who provided Li with another easy win.

Ekaterina Makarova was the one to finally force Li to play hard winning a second set tiebreaker 7-6(5). Li closed her out with a 6-2 third set.

Li is presently being coached by one Carlos Rodriguez. You all remember him. the Éminence Grise behind Justine Henin. He seems to have brought Li in ready for whoever she faces and whatever they throw at her.

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Let's see. Best (only) serve in the WTA. Keen court sense. Great movement. Able to adapt. Confident. Prepared. What skills doesn't she have?

On her way to the semifinals she faced Francesca Schiavone whom she beat badly but showed much respect. Next came Galina Voskoboeva who was followed by Yaroslave "Golden Set" Shvedova. Next came the rematch with Sloane Stephens, who was getting the full star treatment in the New York press. This was supposed to be a war between the old and the new. Serena won 6-4, 6-1. Serena's quarterfinal match was against Carla Suarez Navarro who took out Angelique Kerber. Carla had less to bother Serena with than Dani Hantuchova had to annoy Vika. I didn't even watch the match, the only match of Serena's I didn't watch. Score was 6-0, 6-0.

It's easy to say Serena will beat Li. But I think this'll be tight. Rodriguez wants to show he's more than a controlling s.o.b. He's broken Li's game down and is in the process of putting a new one in place. Let's not forget Serena is a different presence on court than she was a few years ago. Because of the intangibles I think this is a toss up as well.


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This is Tornado Alicia Black. She has a sister named Hurricane Tyra Black. I'm going to say it. Both are poised to take the junior ranks by storm. I'm so sorry but it has to be said. Tornado is 15 and playing the Junior US Open. She's done well so far. And let's not make her the next big thing okay? She's 15.

A friend of mine came into town from North Carolina, a friend I hadn't seen in over five years. She's a tennis fan too so it was a no brainer that we would spend a day at the Open.
We went on Sunday hoping to get somewhat affordable tickets into Ashe. That didn't happen so we got grounds passes and walked around, had a nice meal indoors in air conditioning, and sat in front of Ashe to watch Serena vs Sloane.

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The USTA is doing fans a great service by alerting us to who is on the practice courts. There were a lot of people there but look who we got to see. Fans were eagerly anticipating neck rolls, sucked teeth and general unpleasantness with the two women on the practice courts at the same time.

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None of that happened from what I could see. What I did see was Sloane go through the motions of a practice session while her USTA Player Development coach stood and watched Serena and her team go through a real practice. Sloane was barely on the practice courts twenty minutes, if that long. In fact she seemed bored to even be there. Richard Gasquet, whom you see was also on the practice courts, was working hard. Sloane didn't even stay long enough to work up a sweat.

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There are a lot of things Sloane needs to work on with her game. It's also possible that she had an earlier, better work out that I didn't see. But what I did see is a somewhat arrogant player whose ego is outstripping her accomplishments at the moment. Less photo shoots and covers on the sports pages. More work off court. Lots of player have the talent. The ones at the top know that it's not enough.

End Notes

Now that there are fewer matches I'm watching ESPN's coverage and not streaming from the US Open App. The American tennis establishment seems to still be upset about the cheers for Gaël Monfils against John Isner the other night. Have they been emphasizing the European origin of the remaining players all along or has this just been a thing since the other night? I don't remember "European" or "Australian" or "British" being used as an epithet back in the day. But almost every match I watched was talking about the Europeans as if they are some sub species of humans. They're tennis players. Tennis is an international sport. It's a major sport everywhere but the United States where it seems the people at the top want to keep it a strictly country club phenomenon.

Bitch and moan all you want commentators, USTA hierarchy and yes, former players. The United States has no one right now who can challenge the top players, all but one of whom come from that place, you know, Europe. As long as US players think Chipotle provides a proper sports diet and that fitness and practice, you know, match preparation, scouting are things to do when the mood strikes you, we'll continue to be a second rate tennis power. Watching Sloane Stephens coach do nothing to work with his charge while watching Serena's practice says all you need to know about why US tennis is in the state it's in.

It's work people. Lots of it. And you're doing your players a disservice by not making them do it.