Grow up and Deal with it, Tennis: Snitch Wayne Odesnik Coming Back

Wayne Odesnik

“Good win today vs. Kendrick. Always tough playing a friend. Won’t have that problem tomorrow…’’

That’s what Amer Delic wrote on Twitter last week from the Savannah Challenger. His next opponent, the one he wouldn’t feel bad about beating? Wayne Odesnik.

Yes, the same Odesnik who lost to Sam Querrey last year, with Querrey saying later there was no way he was going to lose to “that guy.’’

And it’s the same Odesnik who beat Delic in Savannah, then played Ryan Harrison and got into an argument with him. “First of all, no one trusts you,’’ Harrison said during the match, according to the Savannah Morning-News. Sports Illustrated said people sitting near the court heard Harrison call Odesnik “a weasel’’ and “an embarrassment to American tennis.’’

Also, Odesnik won the tournament.

Look, Wayne Odesnik is a snitch. We already know that. He was busted for bringing HGH into Australia. Then, just under a year away from the tour, his suspension was suspended because he was being helpful in efforts to combat drugs in the sport.

Nobody likes a snitch, and it was clear from the start that he was never going to be popular, or trusted, in the locker room again. But here’s the thing: Odesnik is working his way back up the rankings. Soon enough, he’ll be back on the big tour.

And the players are going to have to deal with it.

“This is the first Challenger event I’ve won,’’ Odesnik told reporters after beating Young 6-4, 6-4. “It feels good to be playing at a high level again.’’

Odesnik climbed 127 spots in the rankings to No. 250.

So far, the other players are coming off like petty children. Of course, Odesnik is the tattletale. I don’t blame players for not liking him.

He made the sport look bad, made U.S. tennis look bad, and then, rather than paying his price, he cut a deal that sells players out. That’s how they’ll see it anyway. Theoretically, it only sells out the cheaters.

If players are clean, then what do they have to worry about? It’s a fair question, but honestly even if you’re clean, do you want to be around a snitch?

Weasel

Have you ever worked with a person who was always feeding info to management? I have. A casual gripe to a co-worker about the boss? If Snitch-Man turned out to be around, then I knew the gripe would be getting back to me.

I never knew how he could live with himself. But in Odesnik’s case, he is trying to make a living, not just kiss up. Not to show sympathy – he did have the HGH, and did save himself on the backs of others – but the other players aren’t handling this with any maturity.

So Harrison, in a public setting where paying customers can hear him, is calling Odesnik a weasel? How unprofessional.

Delic sprained his ankle during his match against Odesnik, but played on until he was one game from losing. He told SI’s Jon Wertheim, “If it was any other guy, I would have pulled out right away. Instead, I had it taped and kept the match going as long as I could, just so he doesn’t have it easy in the second match.’’

OK, but quitting when you are one game from losing is pretty low-class.

As for Querrey, with all the lack of motivation he shows, why does it take Odesnik to motivate him? Sam, How about not wanting to lose to “that guy’’ no matter who your opponent is?

I guess I just can’t understand why these guys are letting Odesnik get to them. I’ll be honest: I would have a problem dealing with him, too. But I would handle it better than these guys have.

Well, he’s going to be in the locker room soon enough, probably by the end of this year. Maybe he actually does some good and helps get rid of some steroid cheats, keeping the playing field even for everyone. Then, some of these players can come to him and offer their true heartfelt gratitude in private:

Thanks, weasel.

About gregcouch

I can talk tennis all day long, and often do. And yet some of the people I talk to about it might rather I talk about something else. Or with someone else. That’s how it is with tennis, right? Sort of an addiction. Sort of a high. I am a national columnist at FoxSports.com and a FoxSports1 TV insider, and have been a columnist at the Chicago Sun-Times. In 2010, I was the only American sports writer to cover the full two weeks of all four majors, and also to cover each of the U.S. Masters series events. I’ve seen a lot of tennis, talked with a lot of players, coaches, agents. I watched from a few rows behind the line judge as Serena rolled her foot onto the baseline for the footfault, a good call, at the 2009 U.S. Open. I sat forever watching a John Isner marathon, leaving for Wimbledon village to watch an England World Cup soccer game at a pub and then returning for hours of Isner, sitting a few feet from his wrecked coach. I got to see Novak Djokovic and Robin Soderling joke around on a practice court on the middle Sunday at Wimbledon, placing a small wager on a tiebreaker. Djokovic won, and Soderling pulled a bill out of his wallet, crumpled it into his fist and threw it at Djokovic, who unwadded it, kissed it, and told me, “My work is done here.’’ And when Rafael Nadal won the French Open in 2010, I finished my column, walked back out onto the court, and filled an empty tic tac container with the red clay. I’m looking at it right now. Well, I don’t always see the game the same way others do. I can be hard on tennis, particularly on the characters in suits running it. Tennis has no less scandal and dirt than any other game. Yet somehow, it seems to be covered up, usually from an incredible web of conflicts of interest. I promise to always tell the truth as I see it. Of course, I would appreciate it if you’d let me know when I’m wrong. I love sports arguments and hope to be in a few of them with you here. Personal info: One-handed backhand, serve-and-volleyer. View all posts by gregcouch

6 responses to “Grow up and Deal with it, Tennis: Snitch Wayne Odesnik Coming Back

  • Annie

    I’m pretty sure the players are more upset with Odesnik for being a DOPER and a LIAR than for being a “snitch”.

    Do you really think the likes of Odesnik playing and winning is good for tennis? Is good for US tennis? Come on.

  • Steve

    You know the sad reality is that most of the American players on tour could learn a hell of a lot from Wayne Odesnik in terms of attitude, fitness and fighting for every point.

    Before the scandal he was one of the players I most admired; a guy who never gives up and gets the most from his limited natural ability.

    Of course I now know why he was so fit, but even so, when we’re talking elite athletes, doping is going to add maybe an extra 5%.

    Even a clean Odesnik’s conditioning puts the likes of Young, Isner, Querrey, Delic, Kendrick and pre-diet Fish to shame.

    As does his attitude on court.

    The whole “snitch” rhetoric is very unhelpful as well. This isn’t an episode of The Wire.

    The only thing that can really combat doping in sports is a culture of snitching.

  • Diane

    This is laughable. Career challenger level players are doing a mean girls routine on Wayne Odesnik, who has never tested positive. Kendrick needs to focus on his own anger management problems and stop being so rude to people; Harrison needs to shut up and focus on being the ‘future of American tennis’ so that maybe he can do better than every one else who had that title in the last few years; and ‘classy’ Amer Delic should focus on staying healthy for more than 3 weeks at a time. Funny, the USTA has wasted so much money on Reynolds, Kuznetsov, Simmonds, Delic, Sweeting, Evans, etc to drink their way around the world, but Odesnik and Bogomolov get the least amount of support, work the hardest, and still get similar results. Wayne has never been part of their little in-crowd, so they used any excuse to point a finger at him just because he was small and a grinder. So much more to this story.

  • John

    Let’s face it. Tennis has a steroids problem. These guys are just scared because they think Wayne may help them get caught.

  • Jyotirmay Intellisense

    He needs to practice more and more but in his photo looks very nervous.

  • Peter Larson

    Thanks for a very good article, I really agree what you are writing. What the other players are doing is just pathetic. For me Harrison has always seemed to be a spoiled little brat, and this just confoirms it. Apparently Roddick said something bad about Odesnik as well.These players should leave him alone, you get the impression they have something to hide.

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