Indian Wells: Pusherama.


1. Apologies for the lack of Indian Wells coverage. If blogging while doing a double degree, working and having the pretense of a life was tough, try taking away home internet.

But praise Roger Federer, my internet is back and faster than ever. Now what have I missed?

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2. After his quarterfinal exit at the Australia Open that saw the media hailing the end of Rafael Nadal’s career, Rafa spent the week in Indian Wells serving up humble pies to the obituary writers.

Want one? I hear he runs a good bakery.

But the real test for Rafa will come on Sunday, when he’ll face either Soderling or Roddick in the final (yes, he’s going to beat Ljuby. Are you kidding me?).

Should he walk away with the title in hand, it’ll be his first top 10 victory since “the World According to Rafa” came crashing down last June. Incidentally, it’ll also be his first ATP title in almost 10 months.

While there’s no need for us to get ahead of ourselves, you bet he’s ready for it. I can practically feel his energy through my screen.

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3. I hate pushers.

Yes, it’s a somewhat disrespectful and often misused term to brand someone, but there is a certain brand of scavenging, defensive, uncreative tennis that deserves all the disrespect it can get. Brad Gilbert tried to make it hip, in a “self-help tennis” kinda way, but I haven’t got a problem with beauty. Let those who can’t win settle for ugliness, we all need something eye-pleasing to appreciate and aspire to, even if most of us can’t emulate the same kind of aesthetics ourselves.

Which is an awfully convoluted way of bringing me to the bizarre conundrum that is my love affair with Lady Jaja, the only “pusher” I’ve ever really liked.

It isn’t about the drama, the smile or the glitter. Liking a player because you appreciate their personality is a bit like eating ice cream because you like hundreds-and-thousands. The reason I love Lady Jaja and keep my fingers crossed for her win tomorrow comes down to this: she plays like a girl. She moves like a girl. Hell, she talks, dresses, acts, bitches, fights, laughs and cries like a girl.

I once I heard a tennis commentator compliment Serena by saying “she plays like a man”. With JJ (as with Martina Hingis I might add), it’s the exact opposite. And isn’t it just as pretty?

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4. All this ‘philosophisationing” aside, Lady Jaja dismissed Sam Stosur in straight sets in the semifinal of Indian Wells to book a place in the final. She’ll be facing CWoz in the final, who also had an easy day against Aga.

Talk about pusherama. In JJ and Carol’s perfect world, points die from natural causes in their sleep. Get yourselves some coffee, ’cause we’re in for a long day.

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5. Talk about pushers, scavenger tennis might bring you the type of consistency undreamed of by players like James Blake, but it also has a tendency to make you look utterly powerless when your opponent happens to be painting the lines with gusto.

We saw it at the US Open when Murray nursed some wristy problems and looked listless against Cilic. We saw almost two sets of it during the Australian Open men’s final and we saw it again today, as Muzz was booted out of the tournament by Dimples Sod, 61 76.

Talk about a ‘Soderporn Saturday’, when he wasn’t serving bombs and abusing yellow fuzzy things, Soderling found enough mental presence to dig himself out of a few early and late break points to race away to an insurmountable lead and close out the match in straight sets.

Regardless of your opinion of Sod, be it that he’s a douche or perhaps just a grossly misunderstood guy, the man’s certainly a straight-talker. Dootsie approves.

Q. How do you feel the way you’re playing in this tournament?

ROBIN SODERLING: I don’t care. [laughter.]

Never change, Dimplecakes. Don’t you dare get all smooth-talking on me.

6. I haven’t made any dramas out of what Federer said at the press conference after his loss to Marcos Baghdatis. In truth, I’m with Soddy on this, I don’t care.

People who think Roger Federer’s hair turned him from a tennis god into an actual god won’t care if he was brutally honest after a bad loss. The fact that Roger’s a tremendously sore loser is almost never relevant. (And it isn’t, not to me anyway. I like sore loser Fed.)

By the same token, people who claim to hate Federer, yet spend every minute of their day talking about him are going to spin it the same way they spin everything. So why bother?

What I will say is this: Roger Federer was pissy, annoyed and angry at himself after he lost to Baghdatis. And if you’re a Federer fan, that’s a good thing.

Who said he stopped caring about Masters? Off with their heads!

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7. Serena, del Potro, and Maria Sharapova out of Miami. Roll on the 2010 casualty train.

xx doots

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14 responses to “Indian Wells: Pusherama.”

  1. elisha says :

    LOL I like pissy Roger as well. I’m glad I didn’t stick around for the third set because it was getting late here and I had an exam the next day. It definitely shows that Roger cares and I’m glad he still has that competitive-ness(?) in him because I want him to stick around as long as possible, please! hehe.

    I’ve never been a fan of Jelena, but you’ve kind of turned me. lol. I’ve been rooting for her during her Fed Cup matches, and was glad she came through against some of her Russian opponents. I didn’t like the dramatics and the somewhat self-centered nature of her’s, but I simply find it all amusing and endearing. haha.

    No offense to ARod, but I’d love for Soderling to get to the final and see how Rafa will do against him. I mean, if Rafa beats two of the players he least likes in one tourny, I’d say it would be a very successful one for him. Other than the fact that he’d have denfended some points by winning. I know Rafa’s not gone and won’t be for a while.

  2. Jack says :

    I hate pushers too!!! I admire a player more for taking risks and actually going after the win rather than playing it safe. Plus I’d rather watch a match with 40+ winners, than 40+ unforced errors. But I do like JJ!

    I like sore loser Fed too. To be honest though, I don’t see a problem with him being pissy after a loss. I mean, he’s just expressing what he feels. I’d rather him be like that than sit there with a fake smile across his face saying everythings ok. Plus, he had everyright to be like that. If we’re honest, he lost that match rather than Baggy won it. And like you said it shows he cares.

    Regarding Serena, I thought her pulling out of tournaments was her just being Serena. But maybe this knee injury is more serious than we think.

    And boo to Masha getting injured AGAIN! She seriously can’t catch a break. She’s been plagued by injuries since 2007 now! I know we joke about Roger and Karma but I hope Maria gets some good Karma soon! And I hope she doesn’t come back until its properly healed. I don’t want to see another shoulder situation happening.

  3. whynotme says :

    Loved your post!

    I flove Le Sod, his game, his dimples, his press conferences, his outfits, his shyness, everything! So YAY for Soderporn Saturday ! And I hope he takes the title if it’s not Rafa (and god I want a final betxeen the 2 of them!!) so that we can get a Soderporn Sunday😉

    I hate pushers too, but I’ve always liked JJ for the very exact same reason though I had never been able to understand why, so thank you for coming up with the explanation! (plus I love her dress so much!! Green is win :p I always love her outfits actually) Allez JJ, I don’t want to see Caro with the title, pleeeaaase!

    About Rafa, he actually beat Jo-Willy at Bercy so I guess that was his 1st top 10 victory since June! Though I may say that Jo-Willy doesn’t always look like a top ten player… :S

  4. TGIF says :

    Love Rog, but there are times lately where I think given his advancing age and familial responsibilites it might be nice to see him – grow up a bit?
    But I know it’s like waiting for Godot🙂
    Oh well – the positive side of “big kid” Fed is always a treat.

  5. Warwick360 says :

    “But the real test for Rafa will come on Sunday, when he’ll face either Soderling or Roddick in the final (yes, he’s going to beat Ljuby. Are you kidding me?).”

    Spoke to early, huh? A really unexpected loss for Nadal. But all I wanted to see even before Nadal’s match started was for Sod to win his first masters 1000. So not too bothered with nadal losing.

    • dootsiez says :

      Blech. I’ll eat a slice of humble pie for that. Gotta go one match at a time and try not to jinx anyone LOL.

  6. Forehandshanker says :

    If I had 3 MPs and was up 4-1 in the 3rd, I’d be pissed too. Federer’s reaction was totally human, and that’s why we love him.

    I hate pushers (playing them and watching them). Then again, pro-level “pushers” make us hackers seem like real tools. At any rate, JJ’s dramatics make me laugh but I’m cheering for Sunshine to win. Her off-court behavior reminds me a lot of Fed. Very classy, and just too nice to hate.

  7. pban says :

    Was that the most atrocious tiebreaker played by Rafa or what? Dear Rafa we all know you love that Swiss as much as we here do but surely you shouldn’t be taking pointers from Ferd the turd, 8 breakpoints wasted in the 2nd set and then doublefaulting on breakpoint on your own serve…..seriously these are theatrics we expect from good ole potato nose (and we get enough to last a lifetime) so spare us when you play.

  8. flo says :

    *RANT*

    I got some ideas for Fed-haters: reductio ad hitlerum -> Fed didn’t give credit to Marcos who’s a Cypriot; Cyprus was once ruled by the tyrannical Ottoman Empire; the Ottoman Empire carried out a genocide of the Armenian people; You know who was a fan of genocides? That’s right, Nazis. OMG, Federer is an admirer of Hitler.

    Put that in a blurb, you people make Glenn Beck seem not so clownish.

    To the people who try to take innocent comments and make them into Mein Kempf and then hide behind the “I’m only asking questions”-defence and learn the ability to understand words IN CONTEXT. For God’s sake, stop Goldbluming. I hate the politics of politics, please don’t let it bleed into tennis fandom as well.

    • dootsiez says :

      I hear ya flo. The bottom line is – you can’t discuss, chat or reason with someone if they refuse to approach things from a rational basis. Haterade is fundamentally irrational. No matter what arguments you put in front of them, they’ll believe what they want and nitpick through anything with passion to prove that you’re “wrong” and they’re “right”.

      It fills tennis fandom up with lunatics, and not the kind you can have a proper disagreement with and walk away without feeling like you’ve been intellectually raped.

      I’m afraid it’s too late to stop “the politics of politics” from saturating the tennisphere.

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