Sweet Serb win tinged with sour taste


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It should have been the sweetest tennis story of the year. Little Serbia's stunning victory over France had all the things you want from a piece of sporting drama: excitement, a rollicking atmosphere and some outstanding personal performances.

But some incidents throughout the weekend have left a sour, bitter taste that Tramlines just cannot wash out of its mouth. None more so than the utterly disgraceful comments from the Serbian captain Bogdan Obradovic after the doubles rubber.

Rather than praise France's Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra for a fantastic come-from-behind victory, Obradovic instead decided to have a petty rant that was the height of ignorance and bad sportsmanship by essentially slamming the line judges for not cheating in his side's favour.

"We are not asking them to be thieves and give us anything," he said before immediately asking them to do just that.

"But some of them were absolutely awful today and they made several bad calls at key moments in the match.

"They were like a dark force out there and their lack of patriotism was astounding. If they feel anything for their country they ought to wait for a customary second at close calls to make the right decision.

"We know them very well and we are completely aware that they are trying to build a career by siding to the (International Tennis Federation). We won't stand in their way but they must remember that they are only here because Serbian tennis has become a force."

The true character of individuals comes out not when they win, but when they lose. Obradovic said all the right things after the tie was finished - "France were great opponents, it was a fantastic match...blah blah" - but it is very easy to suddenly become magnanimous when your side has won and you are clutching the trophy in your arms.

Where was that grace when Serbia were 2-1 down though? Completely lacking - and one is left wondering how he would have responded if France had won the Cup.

Tramlines also has to take issue with Serbia's much-lauded supporters, but not for the same flippant reason as France's captain Guy Forget whose pandering sugar-coating around an insult couldn't disguise the fact that he was still calling some Serb fans 'idiots' for making a bit of noise. It is a Davis Cup final, Mr Forget, for God's sake - get over it.

No, instead Tramlines again goes back to the Saturday doubles match to find disappointment from the legions in Belgrade.

The crowd were a fizzing cacophony as they watched their side go 2-0 up but then, as France started to work their way back into the match, the home fans went into a shell and let the surprisingly large and noisy contingent of away supporters completely drown them out.

All reports on Sunday's memorable final day praised the noise generated in the arena, but again, that is the easy part; Serbia enjoyed two three-set victories to win the Davis Cup - of course they're going to get excited about that.

When the supporters were really needed in latter stages of the doubles though they were found wanting - some of them even went home before the match had finished.

For Tramlines there was one particularly telling moment early in the fifth set. At that stage of the match Viktor Troicki's game had completely fallen apart and he was clearly having major confidence issues. Seeing that, his partner Nenad Zimonjic asked the crowd to give Troicki a lift by gesturing to them to pump up the volume. However, after a half-hearted roar, everything quickly calmed down again and France were able to clinically go on and win the match with all the singing and shouting in the building coming from their travelling support.

At this point Tramlines should perhaps point out that it was not neutral going into this final - it was cheering for Serbia.

Nothing against France as a team or a country, but they have experienced lots of sporting success in the past and are a well-established tennis nation.

A Serbian victory was always going to be a bigger story; a sporting landmark for a nation and a Cinderella story for the sport of tennis.

Novak Djokovic played like a man possessed and also acted as a remarkably effective cheerleader by consistently reminding the fans that they should be caring as much about the tie as he clearly was.

Troicki, after looking like a scared boy in the doubles, put in the performance of his career to win the deciding rubber.

Zimonjic was suffering from an injured elbow and missed his child's birthday so he could compete, but still produced some superb stuff in the doubles even if it was a losing effort.

And while Janko Tipsarevic didn't have the best of weekends, who can forget his stunning contribution in getting Serbia into the final?

They deserved better from sections of their crowd and most certainly from their captain who discredited himself, the sport and his country with his comments on Saturday. Those comments will not, and should not, be easily forgotten.

No doubt the Serbian fans will flood the comment section below accusing Tramlines of trying to rain on their parade. I'm sure the party went on long and hard into the Belgrade night, but the truth is, this was not the sweet, memorable, feel-good story it should have been for this outsider looking in.

It's just an inescapable shame that some of those associated with the Serbian team could not have shown as much passion and class as their players did.



Winner: "I know I am totally drunk but I need an ANSWER FROM ALL OF YOU PEOPLE WHO ARE FOLLOWING ME ON THIS SOCIAL NETWORK. Who is the world champeon?" - Great stuff from Janko Tipsarevic who is forgiven the spelling mistake due to his paralytic state.

Runner-up: "Congrats to the Serbian team for their first Davis Cup. They deserve it. Enjoy. Knowing their players I assume there´s gonna be partyyy!!!!" - Carlos Moya for one, was able to foresee the actions of Tipsarevic and co...

Wooden spoon: "Davis Cup Serbia v France? Who is going to win, got to think djok to win 2. France needs to win other 3. So who ever leads 2-1 on sunday wins." - Oh Greg Rusedski, your prediction was going so well until that last part.



With the season now finished we have to put our regular features (Rankings, A-Bog v A-Bog, and This Week) on the backburner.

So instead let's start a little caption competition, which may or may not become a regular feature.

What do reckon Pierce Brosnan might by saying to Roger Federer in the below picture, or vice versa? The user with the best/funniest caption will be given their own 'Tramlines Readers' Corner' where they will be given a section in a future Tramlines blog to write 100 word piece on any tennis subject they like! We will even let you personally insult Tramlines (As long as it's clean and as long as you can be bothered*)

*Yes, lazy Tramlines is basically looking for someone else to do part of its job

So go on - have a go - and remember you can follow now follow Tramlines on Twitter:

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