Picket Fence Newsreel: the Giant Wobble.
1. WTA tennis sans Williams usually involves top seeds falling like dominoes. The upset bug is highly contagious, and it spreads fast amongst self-doubters and mental midgets. Justine Henin is neither of those things. This wasn’t supposed to happen to her.
But it did, as she fell victim to Gisela Dulko and the Pink Curse, 62 16 64.
Didn’t see a single game of the match, but the serve and general overplaying were to blame for the travesty. Can’t say I’m surprised about either. The third set of the Australian Open could’ve gone Henin’s way had she decided not to hit the snot out of the ball on every service return.
When Justine Henin came back from her 18 month sabbatical, the key difference is the aggressive mindset with which she returned. Yet at times, Justine seems to be unable to find the balance between aggression and doing enough to win.
Is it a matter of tactic or execution? Where will she fall on that fine line between aggression and self-destruction, kamikaze-styled?
2. Justine was not the only person affected by the tennis wobbles. CWoz had her fair share of scares, going down 1-4 against Vania King in the third set before pulling out a victory, 5-7 6-2 6-4. Meanwhile, Stella McCartney continues to be a plague on the Adidas House with this awful design.
Masha Fierce was two points away from double-faulting out of tournament in the second round against Vera Dush, before she found some semblance of consistency to level the match at one set a piece. She eventually closed out the third set convincingly, 46 75 62. Good fight back, I just wish we had seen that first round at the Australian Open.
Olga Govortsova might’ve lost to Demmy in 3 sets, but she scored with her cute little K-Swiss gear. I’ve never liked a pink outfit more.
3. On the men’s side of things, it was a quiet day as Blake and Nalbandian, the only noteworthy names scheduled today, both came away with straight-set wins.
A Federbandian quarterfinal is still on the cards, folks. Save your frazzles and keep your fingers glued crossed that Roger – oh hai Squishy Pie – doesn’t fuck this up.
And I don’t know who thought it would be a good idea to put James Blake in wash-out pink, but stop it. Just … stop.
4. It happens so often: a player like Federer or Nadal loses in a slam to a major challenger and questions of “is this the end” are raised.
In the case of Rafa, these questions take a specific angle – can his body handle it? Is he capable of playing a full season without injury? Will his dominance ever only come in spurts, rather than eras?
Well … a cutie-patootie picture for y’all while you contemplate those question.
Unlike the media, Rafael Nadal doesn’t ask himself those questions. At least if he does, we’ll never know about it.
“My feeling was I ready to win,” Nadal said. “I was believing I can win the tournament there. I had the chance against Andy, had break in the first, break in the second, and I was playing at very good level. Both players played really well, and I feel like I was at the top the whole time.”
I don’t know about being “at the top the whole time”. To me, it sounded like a few years back, when Djoko lost to Rafa in straight sets at Roland Garros and rocked up at the press conference saying “I felt like I was in control“.
In a way, I get Rafa’s point. It’s easy to get carried away with all this doom and gloom. If there’s one thing I learnt from Fed’s year in 2009, it’s that form is only temporary, but class is forever. A few good tournaments could be all it takes for Rafa to rampage through the clay and grass seasons.
“I think my feeling the level is much better now,” he said. “If I am healthy, just play the tournaments that I have on the schedule, I have good chances.”
Yet despite his injuries, Rafa stated that he does not intend to cut back on his clay season schedule (down for Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome, Madrid and Roland Garros).
“The only thing what I did, what I changed two times, I didn’t play in Hamburg [now the week of Madrid]. But I really don’t want to change if it’s possible.”
Can’t say that I think it’s a good idea. But Rafa’s the best judge, I’m sure. As long as you’re not injured by August dude.
5. Alicia Molik and Elena Baltacha through to the third round with wins over seeded players. The latter became the first British woman to beat a top 10 player in 12 years. Nice things are happening to nice people at last, after a string of injuries and health issues.
6. It seems that Lady Jaja is no longer pissed at Roger. Pfft, that’s called ‘Girl World’ for ya.
I just turned 25, and I’ve been on the tour so many years and played so many matches, Our season is so long that even in our offseason, which is short, you are training and your body wears out. It’s not how old you are, but how many miles you have put on your body and how many hours you’ve been out there. Many days, you wake up and everything hurts. You feel slow and heavy. A couple of years ago, I never got tired, I could run around the court and travel all over the place, and now I’m really feeling it.
You have to find ways to stay motivated, and that’s why I admire Roger Federer, because he never gets injured or tired or lacks motivation. It’s amazing. People think you are at the top of the game and you can be there for 10 years and it’s really hard. Even if you really love the sport, your body can’t do it. And then your game starts breaking down, you’re getting injured and your mind isn’t there either. It’s tough.
Source: MSN/Fox Sports