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Bogdanovic flatters to deceive again

Davis Cup
by Caroline Cheese (U1647853) 19 September 2008
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“It's not just how he's hit the ball, but the whole presence he brings onto the court. His body language was not good and he seemed to accept defeat way too early. He sent everyone in the crowd to sleep.”

Incredibly, that was John Lloyd speaking about Alex Bogdanovic in July 2006 after the Belgrade-born Briton had lost to Noam Okun in Britain’s 3-2 defeat by Israel – and shortly before Lloyd took on the captaincy of the Davis Cup squad. On the subject of whether he would pick Bogdanovic if he became captain, Lloyd added: "Never say never, but there would have to be a lot of convincing."

Bogdanovic must be very convincing indeed because Lloyd did in fact recall the 24-year-old earlier this year – but on Friday’s evidence, not much has changed since the British skipper’s fairly brutal assessment. Defeat by Jurgen Melzer was Bogdanovic’s sixth in a live Davis Cup rubber and eighth at Wimbledon.

At least against Melzer, the 24-year-old managed to win a set – more than he mustered in his previous five efforts in Davis Cup matches that matter. But the moment the Briton failed to take one of the two break points which would have given him a 5-1 lead in the second set, the writing was on the wall. “I think it was a little bit of a turning point,” said Bogdanovic. A little bit? That is some understatement.

Many are wondering why Lloyd has kept faith with Bogdanovic. The simple answer is a lack of viable alternatives. ‘Boggo’ is the country’s number two player by some distance and there are no up-and-coming players shouting to be included. Chris Eaton – who impressed at Wimbledon only two-and-a-half months ago - has won a mere four matches since then.

Murray lives for the big stage, Bogdanovic looks like he would rather be somewhere – anywhere - else
In fairness to Bogdanovic, it was not a match he was expected to win. He is ranked 121 places lower than Austrian number one Melzer. But even when he had taken a 6-3 4-1 lead, Bogdanovic never really looked like he expected to win either, and once the second set slipped out of his grasp, he fell apart in alarming fashion as the crowd lost interest and wandered off for lunch.

They returned in time to see Andy Murray polish off Alex Peya in straight sets. The world number four was rarely at his best but he never looked like losing. What a contrast to Bogdanovic. Murray lives for the big stage, his compatriot looks like he would rather be somewhere – anywhere - else.

But if Britain lose Saturday’s doubles, it may be on Bogdanovic’s slender shoulders that the team’s hopes rest when he plays the fifth rubber against Peya on Sunday. It could be a chance to redeem himself in spectacular fashion. “It's just another challenge for me, just to go out there and give everything I can and just to see what I can do,” said Bogdanovic, in almost parrot fashion on Friday.

The trouble is, going on his previous record, it’s just not very convincing anymore.

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posted Sep 20, 2008

ive got to agree with redhotbed.. clearly he isnt as good as murray but if you saw the first and part of the second set he played very well, in the end the difference in quality between the two players began to show as melzer found his form. in football this would be like a league one team playing a premiership team, and then someone going "ohmygod why didnt the league one team win?" lets be serious here, give him a break.

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posted Sep 20, 2008

I honestly do not care how far ahead "Boggo" is of the other players - he is a guarenteed loss for Britain.
He has shown himself time and time again to be mentally weak, unwilling to live and die for Britain and give up all too easily, both to better and worse ranked players.
I do not care if we have a player who is ranked 10,000 in the world, as long as he has the passion to win that is so obviously lacking in our current #2.
I would not blame A Murray to give up on the Davis Cup until we have someone who is at least willing to compete in the 2nd singles matches.
Harsh? yes, true? yes as well.

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posted Sep 20, 2008

Redhotbed,
the fact that you start by attacking someone with a differing opinion as you and name calling detracts from your arguements.
Boggo is slated because his results are poor - remember its not only high ranked people he has folded against, but players ranked substantially below him too. He has had his chance time and time again and failed, Id sooner see a 16 yr old play that has potential than someone who at 24, has not much of a future.

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posted Sep 20, 2008

Look, I really don't see the point of criticising a player like Bogdanovic. The fact is, some players just arent that good! Its not his fault that he is in our Davis cup team, and that the team isnt very good. Its the LTAs fault that there arent better players to replace him!

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posted Sep 20, 2008

@ Redhotbed

If you were a regular follower of British sport on the BBC website, you'd know that Caroline is as famous for her name as for her insightful and often hugely entertaining 'live text' hosting.

She pointed out that the outcome of Boggo's performance was unlikely to have been any different but laments the fact that his attitude had not improved since the 2006 match v Israel. He stopped trying once Melzer found his form, despite leading and with the crowd firmly on his side. If Ms Cheese had really wanted to stick the boot in, she could have pointed out that this lack of improvement comes despite Bogdanovic having spent the last year with access to one of the best coaches in the game.

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posted Sep 20, 2008

Very good points by SamprasFederer regarding Bogdanovic and his failure to make an impression on the upper echelons of the sport. There is something very wrong when a tennis associaton is still funding a 24-year-old who is clearly never going to make it in his or her sport. Even if the LTA isn't still funding Bogdanovic, the fact that he was picked yesterday shows the current lack of depth among singles players in Britain. 21 does seem like a good cut-off point if a player has not reached the top 100 by that age.

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comment by albert (U6379863)

posted Sep 20, 2008

this article is totally unfair on Bogdanovic.

Boggo has a lousy record at Wimbledon and the fact that he was picked to play at such a venue is more an indictment of john lloyd's leadership than boggo's qualities as a player.

secondly did anyone seriously expect boggo to beat someone 100 odd places ahead of him in ranking?

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comment by Greg (U1842552)

posted Sep 20, 2008

I am sorry, but Bogdanovitch always bottles it in the big games. Why Lloyd chose him, was probably because there isn't anyone else. It is time the LTA stop nannying these players and got to grips with producing more champions.

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comment by Wakey (U6640399)

posted Sep 20, 2008

I do actually think there is some truth in our players maturing later and its not just in Tennis either. Its a similar thing in the US too.

Its all to do with the priorities towards education. It is deemed vital by our society that education comes first, you have to finish school and are really expected to goto college/uni so their sporting education is slightly on the backburner. By the time they fully focus on it they are behind and its almost impossible to catch up. At least in America they have a strong high school and college sports setup which provides a relatively strong unlike ours.

Its no surprise that Murray went away to spain where priorities are different and put his tennis above anything else.

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