Passing Thoughts: 5 things you may have missed in the last week.
1. Oh yeah. The WTA Whu-Thu-Fuh. You got your winner.
With the qualifier that I find either of these players stylistically bland, and personality-wise criminally unoffensive in every way, it was a good final. Not epic by Year-End Championships standards (Henin v Sharapova will remain the best YEC final I’ve watched on the women’s side of things, perhaps for years to come) but there was substance to it, and Kim managed to close out the match despite one giant wobble in the second set.
To be honest, I can’t tell if Kim 2.0 is really less neurotic than Kim 1.0, or if the rest of the field just can’t put up a “big match player” anymore.
Player of the year? The three contenders, without a doubt, are Kim, Serena, and Wozniacki, and at the end of the day, none of those three can wear that title comfortably.
Can you be player of the year if you don’t actually play for the whole year?
Can you be player of the year if you’ve only dominated on one surface, predominantly in one region of the world?
And perhaps the most rhetorical question of all, regardless of how much weight you’d like to “discount” from slams (for that seems to be the trend whenever one talks about the WTA these days), can you really be player of the year if you’ve only posted 2 fourth rounds, 1 quarterfinal and 1 semifinal on the big stage?
2. FACT: It’s actually illegal in Australia for Pat Rafter to wear pants. (True story. Oh believe me.)
In more serious news, Rafter has been appointed to Captain of the Australian Davis Cup team, while Tony Roche was reinstated as the coach. First on their “To Do” list?
Get back into the World Group? Nay.
Find new talent in Australian tennis? Nay!
Invade New Zealand? Tempting, but nay nay nay!
Quite simply, Rafter is planning to recover that something missing from Australian tennis in the last few years – camaraderie. The Hewitt v Tomic feud has to go.
“It’s something we will work on over the next few months,” Rafter said in Brisbane, “It’s no secret they have had issues but I really believe we can sit down and can resolve this.”
“It would be really important for Bernard to have someone like Lleyton around – he would offer him so much,” he said.
[Rafter also alluded to the benefit of having Roche exert more influence on him, rather than Tomic’s dad.]
“I think his (Tomic’s) father has done a good job with him but I think it would be good if he did some work with someone like Rochey,” he said.
“For him to use Rochey would be very advantageous for him – I really hope he does take advantage of him.”
It’s the right idea in theory, but its success would depend on Tomic not being a whiny little shit.
I’m not holding my breath.
3. Ana Ivanovic has parted ways with Heinz Gunthardt, citing a clash of family/career commitments. She’ll be going it alone in Bali.
Not that her problem has ever been the coach. The best coach in the world can’t help you find peace with yourself.
“Looking ahead, I really need a full-time coach who is with me at all tournaments and during training periods. Heinz has family and other obligations, which I fully respect, so he is unable to give me the kind of commitment I am looking for.”
Gunthardt said: “It’s been a real pleasure working with Ana. She’s got lots of talent and I feel in the last few months the hard work that we have put in started to pay off. If Ana feels she needs a coach at her side full-time to be able to further improve, it cannot be me.”
“I wish her all the best and I will be supporting her.”
4. Serious question: is Marin Cilic’s brain made out of eggshell?
No one knows what’s wrong, but losing to Haider-Maurer in Vienna? This has gone way past what we can still legitimately call a post-breakthrough burnout.
This lost soul is wandering the wild moors of tennis, and I don’t see him finding his way back before he has to defend his shiploads of points during the early hard court season next year. Watch out for a nose-smashing forward-2½-somersault-with-three-twists-in-pike-position dive down the rankings in 2011.
5. All these years, I was convinced that I was be the only person who found Vera Zvonareva beautiful – in every old fashion sense of that word – off court.
It seems that the Russian glossies are starting to pick up on that too, as two magazines, Prosports and Harpers Bazaar both features Vera prominently in their latest issues. It’s a bit like seeing your favourite indie band make it into the Top 40 charts. All you want to do is scream “I SAW IT FIRST BITCH”.