Misters Congeniality.

Doubles1

A lot of things in tennis world in the past few days have made me cranky. Talk of GOAT, GMOAT, of rankings, serves and returns. Of brain cramps, cupcakes, muffins and bricks. Of bitterness, weak eras and asterisks.

Yes. A lot of things in tennis world make me cranky. That’s what this blog is for.

But in a way that is to be expected, for there is something brewing over in New York. You can’t ignore it. You can’t look away. You want it so badly and want to avoid it so badly at the same time. You know what I’m talking about: one match on either side could ruin it. And I don’t want to talk about it, I don’t want the bitterness, I’m not playing the GOAT debate for the gazillionth time and I’m certainly not going to stand here and defend something that is self-evident about So-and-So’s achievements in this sport.

Instead, I give you something that deserves more limelight and won’t make any of us cranky or enraged.

I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t get a little misty-eyed over it. India, Pakistan and this sport of tennis couldn’t have asked for two more eloquent and endearing representatives. This sentiment was echoed by Qureshi’s mother, who shed a proud tear over her son’s achievement.

‘He has shown how much he loves his country. To say all this at such a prestigious event when the whole world is watching requires a lot of commitment.’

‘I don’t know if our ambassadors are able to say all this so forcefully at any forum or not, but my son has conveyed the message to the entire world.’

Source: Sify

It’s a pity that this statement of peace and unity on the eve of 9/11 won’t get higher reportage in the Western World than this horrible affair. It really is one of those feel good stories you can’t get cynical about, because at the end of the day, I choose to believe that most of us are Misters and Missus Congeniality.

***

In other matches … this happened.

Venus

I am going to put this in perspective:

  • Between her shocking Wimbledon loss and the US Open, Venus Williams didn’t play a single match. She far exceeded my expectations by even making the semifinals, but then again, that’s what the Williams sisters do: making a mockery of your lowly expectations.
  • Her slam results this year – 2 quarterfinals, a fourth round and a semifinal – really aren’t bad. Especially compared to the rest of the women’s top 10, all those “bright young things” and “future contenders” have all at some point crashed out in the first week.
  • Sure, her tennis isn’t what it used to be when she first turned me into a tennis fan, but objectively – take away the history, the age difference, the expectations of glory – her game itself is still right up there  on the WTA, a tour not  known for its mental fortitude or consistency at the moment.

So if you’re Venus Williams, aged 30, ranked 4 in the world for singles and 1 in doubles, there are plenty of positives to take away from the US Open. That’s perspective for ya.

And yet, having said all that, being a fan has never been about perspective. I’m not even going to pretend that this loss wasn’t A STAB. IN. MY HEART. Not just because she lost, but because she lost it on her own racket.

And when will she get this good a chance to win a slam-not-named-Wimbledon again?

xx doots

Venus1

Tags: ,

22 responses to “Misters Congeniality.”

  1. FortuneCookie says :

    Loved the men’s doubles match,the Bryans have been so classy in donating some of their prize
    money to the Pakistan flood appeal,and talking about attending the planned Indo Pak Express exo on the border of their countries…But really,Rohan and Aisam were the stars,their speeches absolutely had me tearing up and the huge support from the crowd was lovely!
    It showed that ultimately the idea that all Americans are like that digusting cray cray minister is as ridiculous as all the stereotypes/generalisations that are made about those from Pakistan,India etc.
    Also,as was noted on Twitter,it was great that Jim Courier let them talk for as long as they wanted,someone like Dick Enberg probably wouldn’t have done the same!*cough* USO final *cough*

    As for the women,totally thought Venus was going to get it,but the 2nd set tiebreak was just horrific from her!So much tension in the match overall too!
    Was totally happy for Kim,and no great preference over who wins the final,but I think I might go with Vera,because it’s always nice to see someone get a 1st major (especially when it’s relatively unexpected),and because I may want to see her go totally insane if she wins.I have a feeling it’d involve decimating all her racquets out of joy😛 Or an embrace with Sergey,aww who the fuck am I kidding,I just want more Sergey on my TV!😉

  2. marcoiac says :

    so true. the vast majority of human beings are caring and empathic individuals, it doesn’t even take us an effort to be like that, it’s our natural inclination. let’s NEVER forget it

    • TGIF says :

      I think that’s it’s very nice that an Indian and Pakistani are playing together and supporting peace.

      While I understand Qureshi’s wanting to support his country, the fact is that the Pakistani military, if not it’s government support alot of violence, including terrorist attacks in India. That’s not misperception; that’s reality. Which doesn’t mean the majority of the people aren’t nice or peaceful people; these things are not related.

      I don’t like it when people go from saying “most people in country x are nice people” which is true of virtually everywhere to “country x poses no political or security problems for others.” A does not necessarily lead to B, unfortunately.

      • marcoiac says :

        i agree. and it’s so sad that there is such a disconnect between the people of a country and what that country can do to others

  3. Matt Zemek says :

    Okay, I know that this blog originates from Australia and that it has wonderful Fed-fan posters from all over the world, so the following statement is made with love and concern:

    We need to stop holding Richard Enberg responsible for what happened last year with Delpo. (This is an issue which makes me cranky on a Doots-level scale.)

    Enberg has been one of America’s greatest TV sports voices (even though, at age 75, he – like most old men [though not all of them; see “S” for “Scully, Vin”] – has lost his best stuff…..)

    It was not Enberg’s decision to cut Delpo short – we gotta get that straight. CBS had Monday night season-premiere sitcoms for the new Fall lineup of American television shows, and Enberg was catching HOLY HELL from the CBS production truck, which had strict orders from CBS management to GET ON WITH THE PROGRAM AND GET TO THE CBS MONDAY NIGHT SITCOMS.

    It was NOT Enberg’s call, it was CBS’s fault as a broadcast entity.

    I realize that people who have not watched American sports (college basketball, American football, baseball) since 1968 are not in a position to appreciate this, but Enberg has established a reputation of excellence while also carving out a niche as being one of the least grouchy and most effusive sportscasters in American television.

    When this US Open is over, do a Internet search for “Dick Enberg Al McGuire”, and you will see what I mean if you don’t know about Mr. Enberg’s life beyond his most recent decade of tennis broadcasting. If you only know Enberg through the past 10 years of tennis announcing, I acknowledge that he would come across as a pretty mediocre sportscaster, because his work these past 10 years has been mediocre indeed.

    From the late 1960s through the late 1990s, though, there were few men better than Dick Enberg in the ranks of dominant American national-TV voices.

    So, a post-US Open education assignment.

    Back to serious, five-alarm frazzling, as bad as I’ve ever experienced it.

    It must be wuv.

  4. flo says :

    THe whole GOAT concept is so fricking American. Up to the era of Lendl, McEnroe, Becker, Edberg there was no discussion of GOAT* and certainly people didn’t only use the slams as a barometer because they knew the history of tennis and even in the open era people didn’t play all the slams and things were just radically different. I attribute this to American obsession with determining the best of anything and everything like how they don’t like soccer because there are draws and every sport has to have 3 months of playoffs…

    *ok, it was a different world then, but on the telecasts people didn’t go crazy over the slam records from what I remember. Presumably also because no one was close to breaking any records, but still….

    Then Pete Sampras, who I admired greatly, got close and broke the Emerson record and all hell broke loose. The American commentators started the cheerleading by planting the GOAT flag and calling the record unbreakable or nearly so. But then the game started changing, the courts and equipment and a one size fits all all-court game could dominate on the homogenized surfaces and then Federer and now Nadal come along and have a duopoly on every slam trophy*.

    *though this one is not a given

    SO I blame the people who started this GOAT nonsense – the McEnroes, Enbergs, Shrivers, Gilberts, etc. – all them NBC/CBS/USA/ESPN people.

    • TennisAce says :

      I agree, this GOAT thing is really an Americanized phenom that seems to have been made up during Sampras’ time. Now that Roger has surpassed Pete in all areas of the game, all of a sudden Fed became GOAT, but the thing about the Fed GOAT as against the Pete GOAT is this, Pete did not really have a foil in the way that Fed has a foil, and especially on one particular surface.

      Because they want to preserve Pete’s legacy in the game they have decided to pronounce asterisks on almost everything that Fed has done. From his number of majors, to the players that he beat and even going so far as to put an asterisk against his French Open title just because he did not beat Nadal.

      The American and British media have no love for Fed and that is because he has killed the dreams of their hometown favourites for so many years, especially Andy Roddick. If Nadal wins the USO (and who here thinks that Novak has anything left in the tank) later today there will be no asterisk and he will be proclaimed the GOAT.

      Now the funny thing is this, some are now saying that the legacy of Ivan Lendl has been preserved since he got to the USO final 8 years straight, something that Fed was never able to do. Ivan Lendl now has a record folks and Federer was never able to break that record.

  5. TennisAce says :

    I have been staying off the internet for a bit and deciding not to post much in order to give the Nadalites a chance to take over every message board, every internet portal, every talk show, basically everything that is on my Favourites tab and celebrate their historic occassion.

    Why then should the Nadal fans feel in their moment of celebration the need to constantly remind us how awesome Nadal is and how Fed fans are fanatics, worshippers, not good enough and how Fed is done. I do not ever recall going on any message board and telling everyone that Nadal was done when Fed did the Channel Slam last year and regained the No.1 ranking? I am going to go the route of my ever classy champion and just do not respond, but I have to say this.

    If but for Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal would be just another player from Spain winning the French Open every single year and nothing else in between. As far as I am concerned Roger Federer pushed Rafael Nadal to be the best that he could be. If Roger Federer was not around the accomplishments of Rafael Nadal would go down in history as a historic feat by themselves, but when compared to the accomplishments of Federer the pundits finally have something with which to compare Nadal’s achievements.

    It took Nadal 8 years to win the US Open. Federer made the finals 6 years back to back to back. He made the finals of Wimbledon 6 years in a row, winning 5 years back to back to back. He has won 4 Australian Open titles and he has made the French Open final 4 years in a row, finally winning it in 2009.

    All this is to say that the numbers that Federer has put up in his career (which is still on going) are being pushed aside because of Nadal’s achievement at his age. How then is Nadal being described as better than Federer when we do not know how much further his career will climb or indeed how much further Federer’s career has to go.

  6. Lost in translation says :

    Hi, all

    I have been reading this blog for some time already, but never commented. Somehow today decided to register as i want to say – it’s absolutely GREAT blog, thank you, Dootsiez, for being there! And i am saying that not only because you are fellow Fed fan🙂

    It’s tough time for fans of Roger, feels a bit like an end of the world…But it’s not. He will be back, though really he didn’t went anywhere. It’s just that everybody (fans including) ask of him much much more than of any other player or all players in corpore. Nothing other than being #1 and winning slams is good enough even though he is 29, have kids and already achieved more than anybody else.

    Some part of me wants that they would name Nadal GOAT and leave Roger alone. But they can’t leave him alone because he is one of the most (if not the most) charismatic and popular players and measure for everybody else. So they will be talking and talking and talking about him whatever happens. And we, his fans, will somehow have to survive all this.

    But we will🙂 Dootsiez, please, come back! I am not sure you know how many lurkers here miss you!

    • Grüezi Miteinander says :

      I second this motion, you can’t disappear right now, when all of us long-time lurkers came out of the racket-closet!

      If you are still mourning over those 66 UFE and so much brainfarting that he produced more greenhouse gases than the whole Swiss cattle population, just know that you are not alone!

      As if all this weren’t enough for our grieving process, our Rog just announced his withdrawal from the Davis Cup (can’t say that I’m surprised, although my Swiss heart just missed yet another beat ).

      Now that we have to wait until October in Shangai we’ll surely gonna fall into withdrawal crisis if we don’t get your Fed porn.

      Please, pretty please…🙂

  7. TennisAce says :

    Yeah Dootsizez, not getting up to read your overnight tweets have left me in a daze. Come on girl, it is not that bad. We have been down this road before. Like a Phoenix he will rise again. I am like Mirka. I loved Roger before he was No. 1 and no titles and will continue to love him even when he is not winning anything. The way the man plays tennis made me pick up a racquet and get my ass on the court. I study his matches so that I can perhaps try to hit my pitiful excuse for a one handed backhand like him (fail) and to this day I think my forehand is my very best shot.

    Come on Dootsiez we knew this time would come but guess what he is not going to run off somewhere and hide. He is not going to pull a Borg on us (even though some people would want him to do that). He will be back. Maybe not as potent as before but his star is not dimming.

    Finally, is it me or does Novak’s star seem to be rising all of a sudden amongst Nadal fans? A few months ago you could not find a good word being written about him but all of a sudden because he beat Roger, never mind that he once again failed to seal the deal at a major, but he is being talked about as the legitimate No. 2. Uhm, if I am not mistaken Novak has one exactly 1 title this year and it was not a Masters or a Slam, so how come all of a sudden his star is rising?

    • marcoiac says :

      i think novak played very well with both fed and rafa. he no longer beats rafa on hard court with his game, no matter how well he plays, cos rafa has improved his game a lot. kudos to him (rafa). he always tries to get better. but novak really gave everything.

      i think roger’s game was really high quality at the USO. his movement was phenomenal too. he was really focused against sod, i think his loss with sod in paris was still burning. i am ambivalent on how to interpret his match with novak. he had a bad day at the office, for sure. his serve wasn’t good. when your first serve is not good, everything goes down. everything. it happens to players at every level. but he also had these lapses in concentration. hard to interpret that. the most straightforward interpretation is that he’s not hungry anymore. so, even when he’s playing well, like at the USO, he needs some extra motivation. he had it with sod (cos he had lost with him), but not with djoko. there’s also the psycho-analytic interpretation that – deep down – he wanted to avoid rafa. i don’t buy that. i think with rafa rog would have played an incredible match. and as long as he was willing to attack, he could have won, even easily, with rafa. alas, we’ll never know.

      but one thing i know: if rafa dominates in the next few years (if for some reason fed really fades away) rafa’s domination will push the raise of a new generation of serve-and-volley players. cos there’s no way you can beat rafa from the baseline.

      hopefully fed will get back to no.1, win more majors, and all that good stuff. but even if he doesn’t, i hope he’ll hang around and keep playing (and play more, not less, daviscup anyone?). it’s such a beautiful thing to watch, fed’s tennis game

      and doots, too, such a beautiful writing. hopefully she’ll hang around and write more funny stuff.

      but i really love it that you, doots, take it SO badly. it’s such a great demonstration of how much you feel when you watch him playing.

      do you know what’s your last tweet, dootsiez? ‘Please just kill me. Death is preferable to this pain.’

      we all know you are fine, that’s why i am not worried (i actually tweeted yesterday to pj that u r better off than we are, now that u r not even tweeting, while we are still chained to the social network….) but your last tweet, few moments before fed’s match ended, is pretty intense. i wonder what your first tweet after the hiatus will be. maybe a totally anti-climatic ‘good morning tweeps’?

      that would make me laugh really hard

      keep it up, girl, the world needs some good sense of humor (and all the other good things you do)

    • dootsiez says :

      *HUGS TO BOTH OF YA*

      I’m alright. (Okay, I got emo today when I walked into a store that was playing Alicia Key’s Empire State of Mind, clearly I have issues. BUT THAT IS NOT THE POINT!)

      The point is, I haven’t committed sekkupu or anything … yet.

      • TennisAce says :

        Ha good to see ya, if only for a short while🙂

        I swear it gets easier to get over these losses. Easier to put them behind you. Easier to just let go. This time around I did not have to delete everyone from my twitter account or delete all my favourites, because at the end of the day I still cheer for the greatest player who ever played this game. I still cheer for the player who puts a smile on my face every time he swings a racquet and that for me will keep me happy.

        As for the Nadal and not being able to beat him from the baseline. That is a story that the media is selling. He can be beat and he can be beat from the baseline and it can be done on hard courts. As far as I am concerned what Nadal showed in New York was an anomaly. If he is able to repeat the feat elsewhere I will take back my words.

        For all of Nadal’s improvements, there is still one stat that his fans never talk about. The fact that he has never defended a title off clay.

        • marcoiac says :

          well, i am glad you think nadal in NY was an anomaly, because he frankly scared me. i didn’t think he was going to be a serious contender for the title, and not only he got me wrong (facts are facts) but it seems to me he thoroughly dominated the field. i hope it was an anomaly, otherwise we are in for some years of unchallenged dominance.

          the fact that he never defended a title off clay is both surprising and explainable though. again, facts are facts, it’s a noticeable stat. but he’s young, fed has been dominating in the last few years, rafa got many injuries that prevented him to defend titles (as a matter of fact, rafa’s on a 14 matches streak at wimbledon, he simply didn’t play last year). so, we’ll see. but i sure hope you are right.

        • dootsiez says :

          He played one top 10 player en route to the title and that was Djokovic. Not an asterisk, because he won 7 matches and that’s that. But really, it’s DJOKOVIC-I-slide-on-hard-court-now-because-I’ve-lost-my-attacking-game-since-2008.

          *boxes Federbear for losing to a twat*

        • marcoiac says :

          ok, you always make me laugh. always.

          anyway, rafa won a major losing one set. i think that no matter who he played, it’s a pretty good performance. and, it’s not rafa’s fault if top 10 players in new york managed to lose from non top ten players, is it? i think there are always ways of downplaying a performance (or a career). the fed-haters are really good at that. but again, i believe in the supremacy of facts, rather than opinions. rafa got 9 majors at 24. that’s impressive. career GS at 24. that’s impressive. won three majors in a row. last guy who did that? your compatriot rod laver, not a shabby player. when was that? more than 40 years ago. let’s give the guy (rafa) the credit he deserves.

          anyway, you pointed out a serious problem for djoko. even though he played probably his best tennis in the last couple of years in NYC, he can’t win a major without attacking, he’s too passive now. but sure i would like to slide like djoko does on hard courts. if i try though, iwould sprain my ankles in no time…how does it do it? even better monfils. he slides like he’s on ice. mind boggling…

        • dootsiez says :

          ^ the last guy to win 3 slams in a row was my compatriot? Didn’t know I’d become Swiss … *dangles Federbear precariously over hot stove*

          Not at all trying to discredit Rafa, he won 7 matches and that’s what you do to win slams. Roger himself played quite a few rollovers en route to his 16 slams.

          I *am* saying that the language of dominance shouldn’t be exaggerated. Especially so hypocritically by *ahem* some members of the media who have always criticised Fed for factors entirely beyond his control. Yet those same “esteemed members of the media” are making it sound like Rafa blasted a field of top 10 players off the court in a haze-of-victorious-splendour-in-the-best-form-of-his-life-on-an-inevitable-march-towards-the-glorious-and-righteous-dethroning-of-the-GOAT. (Read: I would like to stab some people.)

          He played Youzhny and Djoko after 5 set matches. Context is everything.

          ARGH MUST DO WORK NAOO!

        • marcoiac says :

          oops. i thought roger never won three majors in a row, but i guess it must have happened, since he won wimbly-USO back-to-back a few times, and won some AUSO. just statistically it must have happened. but when was that, exactly? and more than once, maybe? (sorry if i interfere with your work…)

          you should stop reading (or listening) to the media. fed is no longer news, he’s been on top for too long. the news people are in the news business. if rafa dominates the field for the next 3-4 years, they’ll do it to him too. they want something new. and then they really get excited.

          do what i do, tennis-wise. read only this blog…

  8. dootsiez says :

    Wim-USO-AO 05-06
    Wim-USO-AO 06-07

    Note that in the second period from Wimbledon 06 to AO 07, dude only lost once in 8 months.

    True story. *nods*

    Gotta dash peeps, time to kick this paper in the ass.

    • marcoiac says :

      “Note that in the second period from Wimbledon 06 to AO 07, dude only lost once in 8 months.” I remember that now! That’s what I call the magic period.

      yeah, kick that paper in the ass, hopefully fed will kick everybody in the ass again, as he used to do.

  9. Alex says :

    Honestly I don’t see the point in watching tennis unless:

    * Federer is a final and no Nadal
    * Nadal suddenly goes into a prolonged slump and Federer/Nole go above in the rankings

    If it’s going to be the Nadal-show for the next 2 years, I’m out of here.

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