Down Under Day 6: Oh you tease.
Q. You spoke on court after the match about the fact that your father worked here for a few months, and there was a chance for a while that the family could have emigrated to Australia. Could you elaborate on that?
ROGER FEDERER: I don’t remember quite ‑‑ I was maybe 12, 14 years old. I remember actually my parents having a debate, are we moving away from Switzerland to come live over here.
At the end, they just said, Look, we have all our friends over here. And even though it’s lucrative and nice to go to Australia, they love the country, they also asked us kids. And we were like, whatever the parents decide. What are we gonna decide here?
So at the end they decided to stay in Switzerland. So, yeah, it was interesting time, you know, but it was quickly decided on. I think we even went ‑‑ I mean, went on vacation here maybe before I joined the National Tennis Center at 14.
We went on a big vacation here through Melbourne and Brisbane and Cairns and everything to maybe get a better idea of the country. Beautiful vacation, but at the end we decided to stay in Switzerland.
Q. What was your father doing out here? And secondly, Australia Day is coming up, and traditionally any new citizens who want to change nationalities choose that day to do it. You’ve still got time.
ROGER FEDERER: I would probably move first to South Africa than Australia, because I have that passport, too. No, my father was working in the paper industry. I don’t know how you call it in English. Ask him yourself. He’s in the corridor sometimes.
Hello Roger?! You big tease. WE’RE SO READY TO ADOPT YOU: you’re easygoing enough for this country. You play cricket. You’ve hired numerous Australians – EASING THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IN THIS COUNTRY. Rod Laver loves you. The crowd loves you. I celebrate your puny left arm every Friday. You’d be the next Pat Rafter, but clothed.
COME TO MAMA!
Umm … back to the tennis. After a day of upsets and close shaves, Day 6 of the Australian Open turned out to be an underwhelming affair.
Roger Federer progressed safely past Montanes. After a sharp first set, Federer shanked a few backhands in the second and third sets and elicited a few miffed roars.
But he stayed solid on serve throughout, facing no breakpoints and only one deuce. Did what he had to do, and we’re safely through to the next round.
Oh, and Monkey made his 2010 debut today. Hi Monkey! Long time no see.
Roger’s history with his fourth round opponent plays like a broken record. Lleyton Hewitt may not be the player he once was, but he’s still one of the safest bets you can make for fourth round. He’s through after Marcos Baghdatis pulled out of their encounter, down 6-0 4-2 with a shoulder injury.
I’ll spare you the picture of Lleyton, how about Bec instead?
Looking back on the last few years, it seems that all my memories of Baghdatis involve him collapsing onto a court in pain, or getting some part of him rubbed during a medical time-out.
You can either blame the Tennis Gods for that, or you can blame Baghdatis’ level of fitness for allowing someone so young to spend so much of his career injured. And that part, he can control.
His shoulders certainly looked alright when he visited Brighton Beach today.
Dude, that’s not how you play cricket.
Let Roger show you.
See Roger? You’re definitely an Aussie inside.
In other matches of the day, Verdasco had an easy day at the office as Fed’s sometime hitting partner Stefan Koubek retired with an illness after losing the first set 6-1. Djoker needed no retirement to bonecrush a third round opponent ranked more than 100 places below him, defeating Istomin 6-1, 6-1, 6-2. Talk about cupcakes, Nole faces Kubot in the fourth round.
You’ll excuse my peevishness at these presscon questions.
Q. Has the locker room respect for Davydenko grown over the past couple months?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: In my own opinion, I don’t look at him in a different way. I always had the respect for him because I always was aware of his quality as a player. He’s an incredible fighter.
As I said, he was one of the players that was kind of underestimated in the last five years. He’s already five years in a row in the top 10, top 5 in the world were you got to give him credit for that. Basically 80, 90% of tournaments he’s reaching quarters. That proves his quality.
Lately he just stepped it up. I think he feels it as well. He feels that he can beat anyone now.
Q. Are you still one of the least‑known players? Do you get bothered for your autograph? You said no one in London did at all. Are you becoming a little bit more…
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: If I go outside now here, it’s be difficult to do in autograph. But in the street in the city, yes it’s easy. Nobody recognize me and it’s good feeling really. Really good feeling.
Q. You live your life.
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Yes. I like what ‑‑ how I enjoy my life, yes, like this.
Q. If you make the final, would you like to play on Margaret Court Arena? You’ve spent a lot of time out there. Are you disappointed that you haven’t played on center court yet?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: No, no. Why? It’s always I know I starting here at Australia at Show Court 2, Margaret, then maybe Vodafone, like before was, yeah.
I don’t know. Rod Laver, it’s from quarterfinal always I starting to play. That’s was I think it’s good. I know I’m not like No. 1, No. 2 like always will need to play on center court.
But, if I know if I reach quarterfinal and I play center, it’s also good feeling, you know, like coming here, 2010, I play if center court Australian Open.
Lemme get this clear: For years, all the players and true tennis enthusiasts have known Kolya to be one of the most dangerous players to have never won a slam. Tennis media has been the one under-appreciating him all this time. And now they’re trying to spin a story of the charismatic Russian, overlooked by superficial fans and flashy fellow players, when they’re the ones doing the overlooking?
Oh just pass me a bucket.
Jo-Wills had a tougher time in his match, overcoming a slightly injured but spirited Tommy Haas. In probably the highest quality match of the day, the two went toe-to-toe for the majority of the first two sets. Haas lost his head a little in the third set, conceding it with a breadstick, but went up 5-3 in the fourth.
Just when Tommy was looking to level at 2 sets apiece, Jo-Wills mentally checked back into the set and simply overpowered and outgunned the German.
After the match, Jo took his time to show Jim Courrier how to properly do the happy-jump.
Gotta say, I like Jim, but he’s gotta stop cracking all these “dad jokes”. They bring back memories of personal trauma.
While it’s all about the two Belgians on the women’s side of the draw, it’s easy to forget that for the first time in tennis history, two Chinese women, Li Na and Zheng Jie, have made it through to the fourth round of a slam.
Just goes to show how much I know about the Chinese players – both Li Na and Zheng Jie are married to their coaches. How when why?
Q. Are you talking with Zheng during this (slam) process?
NA LI: Yeah, we are talking a lot. We can go like eat together and shopping together. We are not against, so we are friends. (Laughter.)
Q. Both you and Jie Zheng are married and have a coaching husband. So this relationship works pretty well for a woman’s tennis player?
NA LI: I think they have different player. I don’t know how is another player. For me, if my husband come with me, if I have something, I can just talk to him next second. We can communication fast. I think for me it was the best way. I don’t know how is another player. Everyone is different. Yeah.
Li Li Na Na is closing in on her goal of making the Top 10 in 2010 after defeating Daniela Hantuchova in 3 sets in one of the more competitive matches of the day.
The two were evenly matched in both their shot-making abilities and brainfarts, but Li was by far the more athletic one of the two.
Watching Dani’s beautiful ball-striking today, I couldn’t help but wonder what would her career have been like if she came with just 20% more mobility. How can someone so slender and light move with such heavy feet?
In other matches, Serena and Venus continued their march towards a semi show-down as they both overpowered their opponents to reach the fourth round. Very impressed with Venus’ elevated form so far this tournament, not so impressed with the banana peel dress.
Venus has to watch out next round, as she faces a red hot Francesca Schiavone, after Franny pretzeled Aga 62 62 to equal her best ever performance at the Australia Open. Vika, Carol and Zvoom Zvoom Zvonareva also made it solidly through to the next round, all in straight sets.
See what I mean about an underwhelming day of tennis?