Down Under: Bull’s Eye.
1. It’s strange to flip open your local news paper on the 1st of Jan and read the headlines “Andy Roddick believes he can end Federer’s reign”.
But as a matter of fact, it was Roddick’s coach Larry Stefanki who uttered the first war cries of the year.
“He’s right to think that [he’s a contender] – there are eight or 10 guys who can win this thing (Australian Open) if they are ready and fit enough,” Stefanki said. “There’s no lock any more – there’s no Roger Show any more.”
I’m not sure about there being 8 to 10 guys who can win the Australian Open. I personally can’t name more than 6 players with a realistic shot of taking home the trophy, but I get Stefanki’s point.
If the World Tour Finals were anything to go by, the top 8 these days seem to know what they’re doing against Federer far more than – say – 4 years ago, when most of them didn’t know that what had hit them was a goat.
But ironically, by calling it “no Roger Show”, Stefanki … kinda placed the bulls-eye squarely on Federer – you know, the guy that made the last 7 grand slam finals.
2. Is it odd that Andy Roddick inspires “survivor’s guilt” in me these days whenever the Wimbledon 09 final is mentioned?
It feels so awful to be happy about match that crushed him so hard.
When asked about THE match at his Brisbane press conference, Roddick sounded remarkably zen.
“My worst day, as far as the way I feel after that match, is a lot of people’s dream, that’s not lost on me.”
“It’s like anything that’s hard in anyone’s life. You just keep going and do the things you enjoy and slowly maybe I’ll only think about it four times today.”
Oh stop it. You know, I don’t believe in the idea of someone “deserving a slam”, but in the case of Roddick, I might make an exception.
3. A woman who also knows what it’s like to have a bulls-eye on her back – Justine Henin arrived in Brisbane ahead of her first comeback tournament.
While her camp has been quick to downplay expectations of a Clijsters-like win at the Australian Open, click through the tennis coverage of late and you’ll see that without playing a single tour match, Henin had already become the one to watch on the WTA tour.
Justine believes that having a personal life in the last few years will help her to become a better player:
“I grew up a lot the last two years, that’s for sure. I really needed to come out of this bubble. The tennis world is a small world, there are so many things around it,” Henin said.
“I never realised that before. I’ve lived 20 years of my life only for tennis and now I’ve got the experience of facing the real world.
“Coming back with that is something amazing for me at this time. I know I can exist without tennis. I know I’m a person, not only a tennis player. It’s a great feeling to come back with that.”
“I know myself much better now. Am I going to be a better player? I hope so. I believe I can be a better player. I believe I can use my experience much more than I did in the past. When you’re into something 200 per cent you don’t realise what you achieved.
“This time off helped me to realise everything I achieved in the last few years. At 27 years old I analysed myself a lot, my personality, and that helped me to grow up. So I hope this will help me to be a much better player in the future.”
Source: the Australian
4. I knew there was a good reason why we called her ‘Aussie Kim’.
That is, apart from us having no decent players of our own and wanting to adopt any potential in-laws.
Like Justine Henin, without being ranked in the Top 10, Clijsters is one of the bulls-eye contenders for the Australian Open. But while Henin worked on her last minute prep with CRod, Kim Clijsters visited the sick children at the Royal Brisbane Children’s Hospital.
She was glowing. More babies for you! Give us another few years of course.
5. Technically, New Zealand is “Down Under” too.
Technically, New Zealand’s a country.
I kid, I kid. The ASB Classic starts in Auckland this week, headed by Flavs, Li Na and Wicky.
Flavs arrived early for the Christmas Carnival in Auckland, and shared some tender moments with a horse.
Holy crap she looked good.
Meanwhile Li Na showed off her new ‘do at her press con. It’s so … I-own-Hello-Kitty-stationary.
Hands up if you’re Asian and has had this exact hairstyle at some point in your life.