1. Call it mayhem. Call it decapitation. But with Stosur, MJMS and Rezai rounding up clay season titles on the WTA world tour, and JJ, Venus and Justine in ominous form, we’re in for a more suspense-filled Roland Garros on the women’s side than on the men’s.
The ones missing from the party, however, are Dementieva, Dinara, Sveta and Sharapova. The first 3 should’ve guarded the clay season as their home turf, the latter has BYOed her hard court game to clay in previous years and made it work, as gloriously ugly as it was.
But this year, a handful of Premiers have gone by without the Gen-Y Vanguard making a mark.
Tis unfortunate, it must be said.
2. And what of Rezai?
Her burst onto the big scene has wreaked havoc. In a good way.
The girl’s powerful without being a tree, she plays with such chaotic abandon that she literally shocks her opponents into submission. She’s straight-talking, she’s feisty. She wears a gold dress and she’s an Iranian French. In other words, she’s the very antithesis of the WTA starlets we all know and love/hate.
Somehow, it makes her zingingly unforgettable.
Q: Well, that was a well deserved win today over one of the favorites for the French Open, Jelena Jankovic. Tell us more about it.
Rezai: Yeah, she is a great player, she has a cool game. But today, I was obivousely too good for her and she disliked that, and I hated her attitude at the net, she barely touched my hand during the handshake and I did not like what she said during the postmatch interviews.
Q: What was the difference between you and her today ?
Rezai: Well, I played like a top 5, just like I do since the beginning of the tournament. There is no other explanation as far as I’m concerned.
Q: You look upset by what happened with Jelena during the handshake as you’ve just said. Is it cold between you two ? Do you know each other well ?
Rezai: No, as a person she’s horrible, I mean her attitude, but as a player, she’s okay. She has great shots, but I think she should not behave like a diva on the court.
JJ v Rezai rematch at Roland Garros. MAKE IT HAPPEN, TENNIS GAWDS.
2. “The Queen to visit Wimbledon”. “Wimbledon appoints first official poet”.
Oh Wimblydondon, you attention-whore. GET IT RIGHT IT’S ROLAND GARROS TIME – NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOU … yet.
3. If the Australian Open feels like – yer know – appointing its “first official” nursery rhymer, the “CONTACT DOOTS” button is right at the top of this page. JUST SO YOU KNOW.
4. A few links in the fall-out from Fed v Nadal, which is very much still the topic of the week.
- When the KAD shows up in the writer (Tignor)
- When writer run out of new things to say (Bodo)
- When the writer wants to turn a molehill into Mount Everest and get some cheap hits (Bruce Jenkins)
Just when I thought I’ve seen it all … OH WAIT – I have. :O
5. And so it goes, the supposed “renewal” of the Federer/Nadal rivalry has brought up the dratted GOAT debate again, this time with a supposedly ‘new’ dimension of Masters v Slams.
A couple of things about the idea of ‘GOAT’ – I’ll be one of those kids in the playground who just doesn’t play make-believe games. I don’t believe in GOATs.
Or more precisely, I don’t care about GOATs. I expend energy in cheering for Roger to win on court, but off-court? In a war of words? What do I care if 60% of tennis fandom thinks he’s the best player we’ve ever seen and the rest 40% devote their lives to rebutting that hypothesis?
He’s my favourite player, I want to get in his pants. That’s enough for me to know, really.
Besides, according to some of the freaks out there in tennis fandom, a person cannot be the greatest of all time unless he or she has won 1) the most number of slams, 2) on all surfaces, 3) has a winning record against every single player, 4) is No 1 for the most number of weeks, 5) is utterly unbeatable, all the time.
If such a mythical creature existed, call me.
But for the sake of argument, I’ll put 3 caveats on this Masters > Slams idea that’s raging like a nasty bushfire through tennis fandom this week:
- It’s a bit like playing a game til the end, then finding out that the game rules have changed. Picture yourself in Federer’s pant- err – shoes: you spend your career being the “grand slam man”, building yourself up to peak for 4 tournaments a year and win as many as you can outside those 4. Suddenly, you get to the very top echelon of the game only to find out that – alas – slams aren’t worth as much as they use to. Masters 1000s are the shit to win after all. What kind of a game is that?
- How many Masters 1000s would Roger Federer be sitting on if 3 were played on grass each year? More than 16, to say the least.
- If I had to put money on it, I’d say Nadal would end his career with an obscene number of ATP 1000 titles. He’s 23, he’s guaranteed at least 2 a year, and anything else is gravy – you do the maths. But note that Federer is sitting on 16 ATP 1000s right now, 2 behind Rafa. All the clay court Masters are over. Federer’s fit. He intends to play til the age of 35. Ivan Ljubicic won Indian Wells this year. Somewhere in all those statements, I had a point, which is that we’ve watched Nadal chase Federer’s slam counts all these years, now we have a rather neat parallel of Federer chasing Rafa’s Masters count. Ultimately, I think neither will get there, but there is a sort of poetic symmetry to it. Besides, as the adidas saying goes, “IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING”.
Or as Nike would say: “JUST DO ME.”
ugh, the entire masters situation get’s a HUGE “WHATEVS” from me. Kudos to Rafa for beating the record so early in his career, but in 10-15 years time, people will still talk about the slams. No one can beat Nadal on Clay when he’s in form, and as you said if their were 3 grass court masters a year, Fed would have like 25 masters, whereas everyone contends for the hardcourt masters so that’s more evenly shared.
What history will recall in the future will be imo, Rafa being the GOAT on clay, no question but also someone who put in the hard work to have 1-2 seasons dominating the field on other surfaces. Whereas, Feddy will be remembered as the all rounder, the guy who really played the most sublime tennis we’ve seen, dominated the entire field for a few years and is unquestionably the best at the slams but who has a seriously bad matchup in Rafa.
and even though Superman has kryptonite, he’s still a freaking superhero, and Rog is still my superhero tennis god and he will be for many people and generations to come.
Oh gee LJ, write a love song, why don’t cha! 😛 😛
LJ! You deserve a free bottle of wine for your amazing post!!
What about the year end masters cup or WTF as someone in all wisdom renamed it ,rafa has none Feddy has 4 or perhaps that doesn’t count as every tom dick or harry doesn’t play and it is not on clay( wow that rhymed)
How many Masters 1000s would Roger Federer be sitting on if 3 were played on grass each year? More than 16, to say the least.
Can I get a hell yeah???
I’m with you, doots! I personally don’t care whether people think he’s the GOAT or not.
But what I do think with Fed is that sometimes people focus too heavily on it. Rather than give credit for what he’s achieved in his career, they’ll bring out the GOAT argument and his record against Rafa!
Oh, and I’m not suprised by the “critics” and “journalists”. I mean, at the start of the year, they were lauding Fed and saying he can win the calendar slam. Now they’re saying Rafa is unstoppable…..what’s new?!
Oh, and regarding Masha, a sad fact is that I’ve not once seen her win this year……and it’s MAY!!!
Because, everytime she’s won, there’s been no coverage or livestream 😦
And I’m keeping my guard on Rezai until I hear what she thinks about Maria. If memory serves me, she ain’t too fond of shriekers!! 🙂
Her match with Larcher de Brito at RG was one of my highlights of last season,it was absolutely hilarious!I’ve seen both Michelle and Maria play live,and while Maria’s definitely loud you just get used to the shriek as background noise,but Michelle was SO SO annoying,just obnoxious!
Morning All. Thanks for this Doots. In addition to what you said, and I agree with everything you say, how can Monte Carlo still call itself a Masters when it is not even mandatory anymore? I dont get that. Even if all the players were healthy you got the feeling that not a lot of people would have turned up in Monte Carlo. I do not particularly like clay season (bring on the green grass why dont you) but when writers supposedly start talking about who is better and all that nonsense, people seem to be forgetting that it took until Rafa got back on clay for him to be able to win a title. In addition to that, most if not all of Agassi’s Masters were won during the best of 5 format, while Rafa’s were won in best of 3. In addition to that what about the Tennis Masters Cup. Unlike regular MS events, you basically have to play the creme de la creme of the ATP in round robin format no less. Rafa has yet to win one of these and Roger has all of 4.
Finally, what about the US Open. Rafa has yet to get to a final, let alone win one, and Roger has won there 5 times. I am tired of the constant double counting and changing of the goal posts when it comes to Federer’s career and some fans are being led like sheep to the slaughterhouse of asterisks when it comes to Federer it seems.
You know, people put those asterisks to Roger’s wins against Rafa, but why don’t they do it the other way around? Most of Rafa’s wins against Roger came from Roger getting to clay tournament finals whereas Rafa didn’t get to the finals of hard court tournaments when Roger did. (Not saying Rafa hasn’t gotten to any of the hardcourt finals because we all know that isn’t true. Just not as many against Roger.)
Just saying. I’m not taking anything away from Rafa because it’s a well-known fact that Rafa’s the undisputed King of Clay. I’m just sick of all the “BUT WAIT” comments on Roger’s wins against Rafa.
I’m still half and half on Rezai. (still upset Venus lost… =[ ) She had a great tournament, but how long will it last? A lot of the “up and coming” WTA players seem to have bursts of good tournaments. I’m not hopping on any bandwagon! I refuse! haha (That said, I hope Justine and Venus does well in RG.)
Number of points
1) REMAIN ABSOLUTELY FLOORED BY REZAI’S PLAY- but you already knew that. If JJvRezai goes ahead, I’ll probably fall through the floorboards.
2) “Dementieva, Dinara, Sveta and Sharapova. The first 3 should’ve guarded the clay season as their home turf” – Dinara’s only just resurfaced, winning the odd match feels like overachievement right now – agree with you about the other two though. Sveta’s the closest I get to feeling the way you do when Fed loses. Unfortunately I possess no Sveta bear to stick pens into.
3) Agreed about the uninteresting take on Naderer by the major new outlets. Everything that needed to be said has already. Though to be fair the match didn’t exactly lend itself to any new angles.
Nadal won. No surprises there. Neither played their best tennis. Boring, and not the biggest surprise in the world either. Federer still thinks the Slams are where the season should be judged, Nadal begs to differ. Oh wait…not a surprise either.
I’m hoping the two meet again in the RG final as this understated performance gave us precious little to go on, though maybe thats where the new era of Naderer journalism lays – what boring farts these two have turned into in their old(?) age
4) Tignor: “I’ve always believed there’s more to tennis than the Slams, because, well, there’s more to tennis than the Slams.”
Agreed, though I’ve also always believed the Slams are worth more, because, well, the Slams are worth more.
No one has the moral high ground on this.
Tsk tsk, your comments are so structured, Poospin.
1) Rezai, Stosur and MJMS: whose run was the stand-out? For me, I’m going with MJMS.
2) Sveta and Fed have both fallen victim to the Roland Garros voodoo, just like Rafa and Ana fell victim to it last year. And for some reason, I’ve always presupposed that Dinara’s injury was more than physical.
3) Stop trying to make “Naderer” work. It’s clearly “Fedal”. THIS IS WAR, MR BITCH.
4) Tignor: “I’ve always believed there’s more to tennis than the Slams, because, well, there’s more to tennis than the Slams.”
50/50 on this. Only for the hard core tennis fan care beyond the slams. Most casual fans – i.e. 90% of those who turn up to AO or Wimbledon – don’t give a fuck about non-slam tournaments unless it’s playing within a 30 minute drive from their house.
Forgot to say, I’ve created a picket line outside your brand new shiny corporate PicketFence HQ.
At present its just me and a handful of followers protesting against what appears to be a Borders like takeover of that cutsey independent bookshop that was your previous wordpress theme.
Anyone sharing my view is welcome to join.
THIS IS WAR BITCHES.
I conducted A DEMOCRATIC VOTE! The majority hath spoken! Just like Cleggeron, THIS THEME IS HERE TO STAY. Live with it, Poospin.
AND! I disliked the previous theme – too much green, hard to match the banner. And the columns were too narrow.
hey, y’all…i’m a naderer fan…so i root for each of them all the way — because i want them to play each other…then, admittedly, i root for nadal…i love the ways they BOTH play…and i love how they play each other…and when they are at it, though i’m rooting for nadal, i’m not overly bummed when he’s outplayed by roger…(i am THOROUGHLY bummed if he’s beaten by anybody else)…
i came to this website when tipped by nadalnews to doots’ open letter to nadal fans, and i’ve been reading it faithfully since…it always seems to me that — for the most part — doots and her fans don’t feel the need to be “anti” anybody…just “pro” roger (which is, after all, being a fan)…and, for the most part, it has seemed that outside influences like sportswriters haven’t intruded…so my two cents: i applaud that…if some writer wants to say that slams are everything, that’s some writer’s problem…if some writer wants to say that masters are more meaningful, that’s some writer’s problem…
could we, the fans, stay out of it here ??? does it matter to us who has the most slams or masters — i’m SO sure you don’t love roger BECAUSE he wins slams…you love his play, no ??? win or lose, no ??? don’t let those outside blatherers suck you in…’cuz to me, that only drags us down…
as for the change to the website, i’m adjusting (not loving yet), but wish the print could be black, not grey…
Hi Christa, I dunno if I asked you this: how was Monte Carlo?!
As for the “ouside influences” of other writers, I’m 200% against Fedal wars. I have neither the energy nor the appetite for it, and like you, I like them both, but of course, in reverse order. But at the same time, I trust the readers of this blog to have a constructive discussion about the merits of slams and Masters without descending into haterade.
And if they can’t manage that? I’ve got my finger on the “delete comment” button yo!
Rezai provided way too much entertainment during the AO 2010 suicide pool. 94 people picked her as a win over Kerber in the second round — and since I was already out (by Tanasugarn WINNING, so I wasn’t too bummed), I could just snicker at the carnage.
Americans who voted for Al Gore in 2000 agree: please don’t say “Naderer”. It causes heartbreak and nausea.
I think Roger’s right on when he says Roland Garros determines the success or failure of one’s clay court season. Going into AO everyone thought Davydenko was the new kryptonite. So much for that. Like dootsie says, most people who register tennis at all only take note of the slams. You’re not likely to find much reporting on Madrid in any major news outlet, but they’ll all tell you who wins the French.
Of course, Roger needs to step it up if he actually wants to win Roland Garros. I think not playing Rafa for so long was bad for him and it was good that he got a pre-RG reminder of what it’s like to play this guy. If Roger’s going to beat him there or anywhere, he has to stop shanking easy balls. He can get away with a few of those against lesser players by turning around and hitting two impossible winners in a row, but the problem with an insane guy like Rafa is, it’s sort of hard to hit winners against him, especially on clay. Roger blows plenty of easy shots against other players, too, so Rafa can’t get all the credit. It’s just a chink in Roger’s armor, which Rafa happens to have all the tools to exploit.
But you know, on the upside, Roger’s level of play has been on a steady uptick in recent weeks, and he rarely engages in even his own genteel version of smack talk if he isn’t ready to back it up. He’s an exceptionally intelligent player. He may feel like he got what he needed out of the Madrid final.
Enjoying your posts as always, doots. Thanks for writing!