Tommy Haas — Getty Images
That was, until his fourth round match against No. 1 in the world Novak Djokovic on Tuesday night at the Sony Open.
The funny thing about men's tennis these days is that upsets, real, true upsets, happen about as often as Roger Federer looks fatigued. We get around the Grand Slams and the final four almost always look the same, with the finals being some revolving door of Federer, Djokovic, Andy Murray or Rafael Nadal. But on Tuesday night, Haas pulled off an upset for the ages.
Haas beat Djokovic 6-2, 6-4, an absolute thrashing in tennis terms especially considering that a guy Haas' age hasn't beat a No. 1 in the world since 1973.
It was a "turn back the clock" performance by both players, really. Haas was on his game, smashing his one-handed backhand and pushing Djokovic around while the six-time major winner looked like he did back in his shoulder-slumping, sulking days before he became the force he is today.
So how did the upset happen?
There are a number of theories, with the top one being that Djokovic just played terrible, terrible tennis ("It’s definitely the worst match I have played in a long time," Novak said afterwards).
The other one that is floating around deals with the unseasonably cold conditions that swept through the Miami area. It was in the low 50s during the Tuesday night match, and Haas basically used the cold weather to his advantage, beating up on Novak by keeping the ball low and forcing Novak out of position and out of his comfort zone.
So Djokovic is out at the Sony Open, and Haas moves on as the 34-year-old feel-good story of the year in tennis. Haas now gets Gilles Simon in the quarterfinals. I bet I know what weather he's rooting for when the balls come out in Miami on Wednesday night.
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- Tommy Haas
- Novak Djokovic
- Roger Federer