Offseason Newsreel: Blogger Existential Crisis.
Help! It’s the offseason, WHAT THE FUCK AM I SUPPOSE TO BLOG ABOUT NOW?
Here I was, looking forward the summer vacation and this little thing called “a life”. Yer know – free from the crazies of tennis fandom and the CV-building, corporate-ladder climbing maniacs of law school.
Well … turns out that “having a life” is as much of an urban myth as a chryogenically frozen Walt Disney, so it’s time I get my ass out of “denial”and move towards “acceptance”. I accept that I do not have a life. Never had one. Don’t know what having a life feels like. I imagine it feels wonderful and farcical, like being stuck permanently in an Oscar Wilde play. Lemme know if you have one.
Semi-newsworthy stuff this week:
1. The ATP put out a list of the best matches in 2009 (clickey), do you agree?
- Wimbledon Final – Roger Federer d Andy Roddick 57 76(6) 76(5) 36 1614
- Madrid Open semi-finals, Rafael Nadal d. Novak Djokovic 36 76(5) 76(9)
- Australian Open semi-final, Rafael Nadal d. Fernando Verdasco 67(4) 64 76(2) 67(1) 64
- US Open 2nd Round – Taylor Dent d. Ivan Navarro 64 57 67(1) 75 76(9)
- WTF semi-final – Nikolay Davydenko d. Roger Federer 62 46 75
Lists are often controversial and this one no less.
The Wimbledon final in hindsight was high quality tennis, with Roger and Andy making a combined total of 181 winners to 71 unforced errors. More impressive than the stats were the heart, resolve and cores of steel that both players showed throughout the match.
I could not celebrate Wimbledon the way I celebrated the French. It was one of those rare moments when I was more acutely aware of the emotions coming from the loser than from the winner. It’s one thing to lose a slam final, quite another to leave your heart out on court and have it spanked back for a winner.
Was it Andy Roddick’s last chance to win a second slam? I hope not, but one thing is certain: dude’s going to give it his everything. There was a time when I didn’t like Andy Roddick much, but how can I not respect him after Wimbledon this year?
Given the historical significance and the emotional roller-coaster that it took us all on, I think it’s fitting that that the Wimbledon final tops the list. But it was by no means my favourite match of the year.
My favourite? No 2 on the list. My head still implodes a little bit from how good it was.
So good in fact that it sapped both players of their mojos for the rest of the clay/grass season. Djokovic tumbled listlessly out of the French Open in the third round. A day later, Nadal lost to Soderling, and I wondered how the world could keep on spinning when it has just ended.
I never saw No 3 because I was on vacation. I did get a facebook message during the match, “zomg this is so good I want to die”. I’ll take my friend’s word for it.
No 4 and 5 – Personally don’t get either of those choices.
Federer v Davydenko in London was decent tennis, but No 5? Surely you jest. And while I’m sure Dent v Navarro was a great match, who the hell watched it?
Surely Soderling v Nadal deserves to be on the list as one of the matches that shaped 2009, likewise Nadal v Federer at the Australian Open, Murray v Roddick at Wimbledon.
And what of the US Open final? Say what you want about my biases, but it was a crap match strewn with errors. The stats, like Shakira’s hips, don’t lie.
Your 5 favourite matches this year: spill.
2. For some reason, Lindsay Davenport felt the need to defend Tiger Wood’s wife Elin.
The tennis pro has a home near Tiger’s house in Orange County, California and describes the acclaimed golfer’s spouse as “very loving, very loyal” and “level-headed.”
Lindsay tells ET, “The insinuation that [Elin] would be aggressive or attacking is just preposterous. … She always handles herself with class.”
Lindsay talks to ET about the current state of Tiger and Elin’s seemingly rocky marriage, saying, “Anyone’s wish when they get married is to make it work, and we’ll see if they can do that.”
3. In light of Tiger’s err … good driving skills, Foxsports Australia polled its users on who they’d be most surprised to see involved in an off-field indiscretion. Roger Federer won by a ridiculously commanding 61%, followed by Israel Folau (Brisbane Broncos) on 16%. (clickey)
Would Fed “do a Tiger”?
“Well, Tiger married a model after he became ‘Tiger Woods’, Fed married the girl he fell in love with when he was 19,” said a friend when I brought this up.
Bless my friends, they make a lot of sense sometimes. If Fed and Mirka can’t make it work, then the chances for the rest of us are slim.
In any case, the day this ‘Tiger Woods saga’ unravelled ranks as high on my list of disappointments as the day I found out Santa Claus didn’t exist.
4. The ITF is proposing mixed doubles for the 2012 Olympics. (Clickey) The IOC said it wanted guarantees that top players in singles would be able to participate in mixed doubles before allowing the event.
I just had a mental image of Mirka coming out of retirement to play for Switzerland with Fed.
5. Venus Williams was honored by the March of Dimes NY as Sportswoman of the Year. Past recipients include Billie Jean King, Andre Agassi and Arthur Ashe. Nice company, nicer bangs.
6. In an interview with the Times, Justine Henin admits that part of the reason she lost the 2007 Wimbledon semifinal was because she feared facing Venus Williams on grass.
“The French Open is the tournament of my heart; there’s been a long love story for me there. But Wimbledon is the one I never won and it’s going to be my challenge now and I’ll never give up.”
Only out of the bubble has she really stopped “to analyse why I never won it”. Her conclusions are honest: “Because I didn’t have enough confidence in myself as a grass-court player. Because I am always scared of playing the Williams sisters on grass, especially Venus.”
Henin’s fear of Venus hit its peak in 2007. “Part of the reason I lost to [Marion] Bartoli in the semi-final was because I was scared to face Venus in the final,” she says.
And this came during the year that she beat one or both of the Williams sisters in 3 out of 4 slams? I ain’t buying it.
As much as I hate the Hamster, Marion Bartoli won that match with her ridiculous angles and ball-striking, far more than Henin “lost it” out of fear.
The rest of the interview describes how Federer’s Roland Garros win inspired Justine to make a comeback. (clickey) Someone remind me of this when I write my new book: “101 Reasons Roger Federer is good for this planet and should be cloned“.
7. The USTA AO wildcard play-off winners are Coco Vandeweghe and Ryan Harrison. Err … I’m sure that means something to someone out there.
Aussies, our own wildcard play-offs start on the 14th December at Melb Park. Lineup includes Bernard Tomic, Alicia Molik and Casey Dellacqua. Should be a good one if you’re in town.
8. Here’s to hoping there won’t be a late entry by Mark the Poo, who STILL hasn’t ruled out a comeback. (clickey)
Can he NOT?!