AO2012 Day 4-6 Wrap: Notable people. (by PJ)
Into the second week of Australian Open. Needless to say, the first week has its fair share of dramas and tears and all that jazz. Since I was at Melbourne Park for Day 4 – Day 6…I just want to put some of my thoughts together. For something more intelligent and articulate, head over to Matt’s mid-week wrap post.
– Andy Roddick. I’ve never really been a major fan of his, but there’s something in him that evokes sentimentality in me. Basically most of the guys in the Grumpy Old Men club (aka Federer’s cohort) do that to me. So the second round-match between Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt was a must-see for me (went through so much grief getting a ticket, it wasn’t funny). It started well, but didn’t end well. Roddick had to retire at 2-sets-to-1 down due to a hamstring injury. He gave it the best he could out there, lasted as long as he could for the crowd and for himself, but with the Olympic year, some things are just not worth risking. But we did get 3 sets of tennis, where, to me, it was like a blast to the past – two Grand Slam champs battling it out. Pity we didn’t get a conclusion befitting to the calibre of these two. But get well soon, Andy. It would make my year to see you and Serena with that Olympics mixed doubles gold medal around your necks.
– Lleyton Hewitt. Say what you want about him, hate him all you want but no one, NO ONE can deny the spirit, determination and the grit of this man. A lot of people call him delusional for still playing, but if you’d watch his win over Milos Raonic yesterday – man. In the fourth round of his home Slam, and he was in tears. He still wants it. He still loves this game. And it has been a hell of a road for him to get here today, with all the injuries and surgeries. What carried him through is the desire to get back on court and compete. He’s a fucking stubborn competitor and he’ll retire on his own terms.
Rafa Nadal gets kudos for being mentally tough, and rightfully so. But Lleyton Hewitt’s mental toughness – especially in that last game of the match yesterday – is amazeballs. I wasn’t fazed about the outcome of the match – I’m happy with a Hewitt win or a Raonic win, but yanno what, in the end I’m ecstatic Hewitt won because the old fart well and truly deserved it. Of course, Djokovic is going to eat him for breakfast with gluten-free bread the next round but hey, wildcard into the fourth round. That’s an achievement.
– Milos Raonic. First match on the big stage, first match with over 10,000 people cheering on your opponent. He was a little unnerved, and the slight stage fright is understandable. In the end, lack of experience and lack of ability to handle pressure in key moments cost him the match, but from what I’ve seen of him, this kid’s got game. Give him more time to develop and I believe he’s more of Pete Sampras than Ivo Karlovic.
– Bernard Tomic. I hate this little shit and I don’t see myself liking him anytime soon. He’s a massive douche with a huge ego, a big mouth and stupid antics like “faking out opponents” – first Verdasco with the whole “I’m giving up” act and then Dolgopolov with the “let him think I’m challenging but not really HAAAHAHA” act. Look, in the long run, I’ll be honest and say it probably didn’t affect the outcome of the matches but it doesn’t discount the fact that Tomic is crappy. What pains me the most is that he is good. Bernard Tomic can play tennis …and he is mentally sound. For a 19-year-old, he is so fucking mentally sound. Definitely more mentally sound than Crazy and hence he pulled off the upset win in 5. Someday this brat will be at the top of the rankings and someday he may win a Slam and when that day comes, I’m going to be royally pissed off.
– Alexandr Dolgopolov. A disappointing Australian Open for my favourite Crazy Ponytail. I didn’t think he’ll be able to beat Tomic based on his first two matches, but I still hate the fact that I was right. His tennis had been a joy to watch – mostly – but his mental fortitude needs reassessing. All year last year, he could be playing the dumbest tennis and losing 6-1, 6-0 but yet he still looked like he was having fun on court. Always impassive, sometimes smiling, but I’ve never seen him lose it. Well, he lost it against Kamke and lost it again – MASSIVELY – against Tomic. If he was mentally steadier, he would’ve won. But he wasn’t, and it is what it is.
I hope he’ll bounce back, stronger than ever, and with that crazy-ass-I-don’t-give-a-fuck attitude and start having fun on court instead of being all angsty and angry. I take back what I said wanting him to show more passion and emotion and even anger. I don’t think I ever want to see a pissy Ponytail on court again. Bad enough I have to watch him lose in front of me, but to lose in a cracked-up fashion against that little shit. Ugh.
– Roger Federer. He lobs 7-feet-tall people, at the net. He is hot potatoes. Also, he is a perfect 10 -10 wins out of 10 – when I’ve seen him live. So so lovely.
– Grandpa Returnerers . Who said 200kmph ++ serves are unreturnable? Federer and Hewitt proved this theory wrong. On Friday, Federer casually whipped Karlovic’s 207kmph first serve across court for a winner. Yesterday, Hewitt was returning Raonic’s 222kmph – 228kmph first serves. RETURNING them…for winners. As someone said on Twitter…#weakeraMYARSE
– Svetlana Kuznetsova. Girl, I love you but you’re crazy. Like all the good ones are. I still hope for Sveta to win another Slam…#delusionland or not.
– Maria Sharapova. Serena Williams. Both scary strong and scary good so far.
– Novak Djokovic. Whipping through his matches with ease, and basically killing his opponents, but no one is giving him a challenge so far. Rusty will give his 200% but I don’t think he’ll even come close. Djokovic’s first real challenge should come in form of Ferrer should he get there but MAN I want that Djokovic/Murray semi-final. WANT IT LIKE WHOA.
– Zheng Jie. Mikhail Kukushkin. Nishikori Kei. The feel good stories of the Open so far, with Zheng Jie and Kukushkin pulling off stunning wins over higher ranked opponents. And Special Kei – first Japanese man into the second week of a Slam. It’s hard not to get the fuzzies when you read about how hard these people work to get to where they are now. Props to Kukushkin especially for beating Viktor Troicki and Gael Monfils. Last year I watch Dolgopolov kicked his ass – HARD – in the first round. This year he’s in the fourth round (and my wacko Crazy is on his way home WAAAAAAAHHHHHHH).
And that’s the wrap as according to my rambly brain. Onward to the second week. More drama? Definitely. More frazzles? Why is that even a question?
P.S. Photos are my own.
P.P.S. A fan perspective on Hewitt/Roddick and Dolgopolov/Tomic up at Tennis Grandstand. I’ll like to say it’s more coherent but I think I also ended up rambling.