Monday Musings: The wait is over.


1. As any player without a claim to history will tell you – tennis isn’t all about the slams.

And they might be right – judging from the reactions of last week’s victors.

 

 

 

 

For Nole and Venus, it was the satisfaction of defending their territory. Winning a tournament once says you had a great week, defending it the second time round turns it into surrogate home turf.

For Ernie and Kleybs on the other hand, they’ll look back on last week with some nostalgia in the years to come. A maiden title is always an important milestone, no matter where you go from there.

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2. If only I knew where Ernie will go from here. I used to like Gulbiscuit. I want to like Gulbiscuit again. He had me on the bandwagon in 08 before he pushed me off.

Well, I ain’t rushing back this time – it’s going to take a lot more than “Delray Beach” to bring me back onboard.

How do I know that in 5 years time, I won’t be sitting here wondering what happened to Ernests Gulbis the same way I wonder about what happened to “that other guy from Wham”?

What did happen to the other guy from “Wham!” anyway?

 

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3. While we’re on the topic of Delray Beach winners, what’s going on these days with Kei Nishikori? Apart from a big fat nothing that is.

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4. Not the best 31st birthday for Dr Ivo, but a final ain’t so bad. He’ll live with that.

 

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5. It ain’t a maiden title, but Nole defended a title for the first time in his career in Dubai and he did it, as Brad Gilbert would say, by “winning ugly” – edging out his opponents in a series of tiresome 3-setters.

But can you begrudge him the victory? Would you like that with an asterisk too?

Of course not.

 

 

There was a time, back in 06-07, when I found Novak Djokovic overwhelming.

First I loved him and found him fun. Then I despise him and thought he was foul. I admired his tennis, which was fearsome and exhilarating. Mostly, I just didn’t know what to do with his “in-your-faceness”.

These days, I can barely summon any emotions either way for Djoko. He learned to be correct and diplomatic in the media. He learnt to play like a pusher and unlearned how to serve. Outside the slams, he plays more tournaments than anyone else in the top 4 and is the most consistent player.

The problem, for me, is that he’s too consistently underwhelming. Be it semis or finals, or the opportunistic title runs in Beijing, Bercy or Dubai against a depleted field, Djokovic sits like a big pile of blah in my tennis peripheral vision, and I can neither love him nor hate him.

What say you on Djoko?

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6. As the Winter Olympics came to an end today, I wondered how Tennis Nation would deal with someone like Plushenko. I wondered what would happen if a Wimbledon finalist came out and said: “you can’t win Wimbledon if you don’t serve and volley. All the baseline rallies, it’s not grass court tennis, it’s like squash.”

Yes, Plushenko’s a complete tool. But he’s good and he knows it.

Not only does he know it, he’s so convinced of his own superiority that he won’t have anyone tell him otherwise.

I’m twisted enough to find that refreshing.

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7. I’m also twisted enough to find Andy Murray’s brutal candour this week refreshing, after he managed to piss off a second tournament organiser in a row this week in Dubai. (Full story)

I personally don’t mind what he said, given that Mandy doesn’t exactly have high EQ. Perhaps more revealing is his constant reference to “what would Roger do“. Don’t deny it dude, you secretly care more about him than you do anyone else.

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8. Am I the only person in Tennis Nation who loves Alisa Kleybanova?

She’s everything opposite of an elegant player: she hits her groundstrokes as if she’s playing tennis with a fry-pan. She looks off-balance 90% of the time on court. The remaining 10%, when she’s serving. She’s not built like a tennis player, which is a gentle way of putting it, nor does she move like one.

These are precisely the reasons why I enjoy watching her. Her crap is inexplicably good, as she demonstrated yesterday with her complete dominance over Dementieva.

 

 

Really. She’s just sweet and totally squishable.

 

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9. Since the first week of 2010, Elena Dementieva has played the Hopman Cup, Sydney, Australian Open, Paris and Kuala Lumpur. I say this for her benefit: get out of my face.

 

 

10. Venus defends her second title in a row, winning Acapulco and mirroring her results this time last year. She now has the second highest number of clay court titles on tour (behind Henin). Not what you’d expect from the Queen of Grass, but it’s what you’d expect from a player who’s good enough to play “BYO tennis” on her worst surface and still perform respectably.

 

 

Nothing makes me happier than seeing Venus on a good run. Retirement my arse.

xx doots

 

 

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16 responses to “Monday Musings: The wait is over.”

  1. Mia says :

    You had me googling Andrew Ridgeley and the Daily Mail spits this out: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1216592/Wham-star-Andrew-Ridgeley-succumbs-ageing-process.html. Uhm, he’s taken up tennis?

    Spot on re MAndy. His mom did say before that Roger was the only player on tour that he looked up to. But didn’t you also detect something Rogeresque in what Djokovic said: “You carry certain responsibility when you are top five, top 10 in the world. You cannot just go out there and practise, you know.”

    ‘Course, you’d have to throttle them both before they own up to their Roger-love, ya know.

    • dootsiez says :

      It must annoy the hell out of Djoko and Mandy that Roger is so slow to acknowledge them the way he acknowledges Rafa.

      I always thought part of the reason Nole got meeker over the years was because all the “king is dead” crap from his family backfired a bit, and Roger telling his parents to “be quiet please” in MC a few years back didn’t help.

    • Ribbons says :

      But didn’t you also detect something Rogeresque in what Djokovic said…

      Oddly enough, I was revisiting this entry tonight (in the process of clearing out some bookmarks) after reading this bit from the New York Times an hour ago:

      “I don’t think there is any sense on getting Hawk‑Eye on clay courts,” Djokovic said. “You can see the mark. I mean, for somebody — there is a chair umpire, and so many years and years’ experience, and to make such a mistake at that point is unbelievable, you know?”

      Speaking of sounding like Roger!

      (Doots, I hope your Twitter silence means you are catching up on some much-needed and well-deserved SLEEP. *hugs*)

  2. stelle95 says :

    Eff yeah Ernests🙂

  3. pban says :

    you know everybody loves Roger (ask Rafa)…… jokes aside I think Andy is like that overeager son to whom the father pays no attention, and he so desperately craves it that he makes a lot of noise just to be heard(though I think the tears will go a long way with Roger unless the British media puts its foot in its mouth and undoes everything) .Djoko gained some acceptance by changing his demeanour but with Rafa it was always smooth and I believe the affection is genuine.Remember Rafa hitching a ride on Feddy’s jet way back in 2007 , now imagine MAndy in a similar situation …😉

  4. TennisAce says :

    And yet some would have us think that he is a douche. Whatever. I have noticed over the last few months that a lot of players have taken up this defensive style of play. Everyone is now a slice and approach player. I blame Murray for that. Roddick does it, Novak does it, even Rafa does it. What is it with everyone slicing the dickens out of the ball. The other day I saw Roddick play a match and he had a big serve, got a mid court ball and instead of unleashing a forehand, he went around the ball, sliced it to his opponent’s backhand and there began a long everlasting rally, until the opponent made an error. Ridiculous tennis.

  5. Warwick360 says :

    Djokovic’s reaction is something i wouldn’t be expecting from a grand slam winner, especially when he’s also won multiple masters event. But kudos to him for defending his title for the first time.

  6. Nic says :

    I’m so glad someone else isn’t ready to jump back on the Ernie bandwagon. I used to the like Ernie too. Hell, I sat in the cold for 5 hours of unforced errors only to see the dude lose after being up a break in the fifth set in the second round in AO 09. So it’s not like I didn’t try. But at some points last year he lost me. And it was long before the curious incident in the Sweden, the no show tournament and the icky beard. All of which I’d be happy to dismiss and put down in the ‘adds character’ column. I just ‘lost that loving feeling’, and Delray Beach and the twirly pre serve routine ain’t gonna bring it back. At this point I’m not sure what will.

  7. grace says :

    “It took a lot of energy for me”Djokovick said.¡really?
    The nigth before I saw Ferrer-Ferrero match and they¨d
    have died on court with so many rallies, I was thinking about the young players, so tired and the commentators saying “Nole is tired,”.I think is his show.What had happened to Novak´s serve?In my opinion Martin is the wrong coach.
    Novak is not playing like the N2 player in the world, I
    agree”winning ugly”.
    I like Gulbis, he´s a talented player, with different shots,
    A different tennis, hope he´ll go on improving.

  8. Jack says :

    Like you said, Djokovic may be consistent but he’s not consistently good! He’s becoming a bit of a non-entity to me. I mean, I’m still trying to figure out what’s going on with his serve. When I look at him now, I wonder how he won the Australian Open in 2008.

    As for Kleybs, the only thing that I don’t like is the hair sweat!! It creeps me out how she squeezes her hair, like a towel, and the amount of sweat that come offs. It’s a little unnatural🙂 But apart from that, I agree with you. Her game is so wierd and dysfunctional, that there something compelling about it.

    And nothing makes me happier that seeing Venus in that sombrero!😀

  9. breadstix says :

    It’s that attitude of Plushenko’s that makes him so interesting. Oh Plushy, don’t ever change. x’D

    I didn’t have high hopes with Ernie, hell, I’m still surprised every time I hear that he’s won a tennis match! Convinced that he’d blow it but, OMG YAY! Biscuit boy’s played some great tennis lately, dunno if that ass hat can carry it into the next few months but this alone is making me want to crawl back onto the Biscuitowagon.
    (Fell off said wagon when he forgot to show up to qualies at the end of last year. -_-; )

    I thought Nole was gonna blow it too. Just shows how good my judgement is.

    Yey for Kleybs. Strange game, that one. Only watched the match for about 10 minutes so… errr…

    omfg, SOMBRERO VEE.❤

  10. jfk says :

    I’m so so happy for Ernests. Not often do you see Dr.Ivo lose 3 and 2!
    I feel bad for Lena D. losing though. And everytime I think of Kleybanova I think about when she beat Ana Ivanovic at the AO and wrung her ponytail of sweat on the court. GROSS!!

  11. Ribbons says :

    I wasn’t surprised when Ivo lost – another player that’s much better-looking than his pictures, but underwhelming when it comes to strategy & general command of, well, everything. (Wasn’t even all that wowed by the serve, but a week of watching Isner et al will do that to ya.)

    I read an interview of a catcher in the Sunday New York Times when he mentioned that many baseball players are really smart – they just happen to be good at baseball as well. Seems to me that might be the case with Nole – he’s really smart, and he happens to be really good at tennis… but maybe it’s getting in the way of his true calling, whatever it may be? (Europe’s equivalent of Leno or Letterman?)

  12. loreley says :

    Why so rude with Gulbis? Tennis is a tough sport and it is not his job to please you.

    It’s not that easy to win a title as some ppl think. Not every 21 year old player has gained one. Btw. he has a doubles title as well.😉

    • stelle95 says :

      he has 2 doubles titles🙂
      And, did you watch him play the commentators reckoned that was the best returning they have ever seen against Karlovic, disregarding the crappy serving of Karlovic towards the end
      I think he can shake things up in IW and Miami too🙂
      Gooooo Ernieeee

  13. Yolita says :

    “The problem, for me, is that he’s (Nole) too consistently underwhelming. Be it semis or finals, or the opportunistic title runs in Beijing, Bercy or Dubai against a depleted field,…”

    I wonder whether you forgot the semifinals in Madrid against Nadal, which is considered by many to be the best ever 3-set match on clay. It was a magnificent match and it left both players so depleted that Nole didn’t win anything for months and Rafa was beaten by Soderling in RG. Also you forgot to mention Basel, which he won, not against a depleted field, but by beating in the final the defending champion, who also happened to be the local boy, who also happened to be the GOAT!

    The reason that you may have forgotten is because of unfair media coverage. Just imagine that there was and American, British or Australian tennis player who had done the following:

    At the age of 19 he wins his first Masters Series Title, a few months after turning 20 he beats the number 3 in QF, the number 2 in SF and the number 1 in the final of the Canada Masters event, still 20 he wins his first grand slam title. After taking the number 3 spot from Roddick, he has finished as number 3 for 3 years in a row, proving that he’s the best of the rest!

    Can you imagine what the media would have done with something like that?

    Of course he’s not playing his best, he’s carrying a whole country on his shoulders (witness his two compatriots who are cracking under the pressure), but he still manages to carry on, he still manages to win titles. He has learned to behave better, he keeps trying . . . Kudos to him!

    If you check the numbers, any numbers, on the ATP page, you will be surprised about how well he´s performed compared with everybody else and you’ll realise that there is a discrepancy between your subjective feeling and the reality.

    This discrepancy is due to media coverage. You probably don’t notice it because you are immersed in it, but I am Mexican, I lived in England for many years and I’m married to an Englishman, so I can see the difference between what I call the “Anglo-Saxon” culture and the rest of the world. I belong to both cultures, I love them both, but I can see them from a distance as well. It is illuminating.

    I’m not asking you to like him, that’s a question of personality, but check his record and compare it with your impressions and you’ll be surprised.

    Cheers!

    I’m a fan of your blog, but sometimes you post several times in a day! Difficult to catch up!!

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