Don’t get me wrong. I am far from being a fan or even a sympathetic observer of Victoria Azarenka. She is not the most endearing, classy tennis player out there, nor has she ever sought to be.
But the one thing I despise more than gamesmanship is hypocrisy, and hypocrisy was in abundance yesterday as Tennis Fandom collectively got on its high horse and branded Azarenka as a villain and the cheat.
Sure. Vika did not help her own cause by giving inconsistent stories throughout this whole incident. When asked in her on court interview why she left to the court, Azarenka replied, to an icy, silent crowd on Rod Laver Arena, that she was overwhelmed by nerves and almost did the choke of the year. Later on ESPN, Azarenka would claim she had breathing issues. And in her post match press conference, Vika told the media that she had to unlock her rib because it was causing back issues and making it hard for her to breathe. Read More…
Well it has been a long time since we had one of these right? Well we’ve decided regardless of the result of tonights semi against Murray, we’re celebrating the fact that old man Fudd made it this far with the draw from hell.
So here are a few (okay a LOT) of my favourite pictures I took at AO2013. Again I’m pining for that photographer media pass one day…but until then I’ll have to be content with just hitting a lot of other people in the head with my giant canon 70-200mm F4L.
1. As masochist as it sounds, there’s a certain thrill that comes with watching Federer get through a match while not playing at his best, while his opponent was redlining his game for spurts of 4 – 5 games every set, when every second serve felt like it was going to come zapping back, humiliatingly out of reach, too fast, too heavy, too hot to control; when would-be point ending forehands wouldn’t be point ending, and every prolonged rally felt like an opportunity waiting to be missed.
It was the match that had, simultaneously and conflictingly, both a sense of defiance and a sense of inevitability. We watched the unfolding of the 5 setter between Wawrinka and Djokovic through bleary, sleep deprived eyes – Stan came out in a state of hyperlucidity. Redlining for a full set and a half with brilliant winners, seemingly neutralising and then attacked Djokovic’s shots at will and off both wings.
And then came that inevitable 6-1, 5-3, 30-0. Stan’s first service percentage dipped. His forehand went away under pressure. His backhand sailed long past the Melbourne sign. Djokovic knew he didn’t need to change tactics. He just needed to be himself and wait for Stan to come back down to earth. Read More…
I understand that it is customary, post-awesome Federer victory, for me to say something nice about his opponent, even if I hate their guts. So here it goes about Bernard Tomic:
Bernard Tomic has vastly improved since he hit the first nadir of his career at the Davis Cup last year. He has improved his serve to a level befitting a player of his height. He upped the pace on his forehand. He plays with more guile than any other player his generation. Clap clap, everyone. Clap clap.
But here’s the other thing, Bernie. If you were going to bait Roger Federer in the media, if you were going to insinuate that he might not make the third round where you’ll be waiting, if you were going to cross the line from confidence to arrogance, to talk up your chances like you have a hot date with destiny, then you better be prepared to either back it up or sit the fuck back down.
It was insanely hot yesterday and not just because Federer was playing tennis and generating insane hotness.
It was the kind of hot that made you feel like you were being slow roasted live, thinly veiled in a blanket of sweat, and every breath felt like you were breathing the steam out of a boiling kettle. How players managed to play any tennis at all was beyond me. I for one was melting into the seat just watching them.
And through the heat, I watched most of Berankis’ decisive win over Florian Mayer. After a year of injuries in 2012 that stunted his rise in the rankings, it’s nice to see Berankis in such good form. For a small player by modern tennis standards, when he’s on, Berankis plays like a much bigger guy, with easy power and an attacking, all court game. If he stays in form, he should give Toothface more of a work out next round after coming through two cakewalk rounds. Read More…
It’s a great irony that as a tennis fan, you tend to follow more tennis matches at home than when you actually go to a tournament, and so I write this more as a recount of my day than any real look into the tennis being played today.
Between lining up to get into the outside courts, eating, hiding from the sun, and watching a Federer practice session, I barely saw 2 matches, and both were frustrating, low quality, and deeply unsatisfying. How could they not be? If there were a less inspiring OOP than today’s, I don’t remember it. It says volumes about how lopsided the draws are that even numbered days have a far greater number of intriguing match ups than odd numbered ones.
Good night/morning from Melbourne!
At last I’ve arrived back in my hometown for the Open and will be yodelling my support for Captain Spongebob at Melbourne Park starting tomorrow. Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hooooooooo!
Meanwhile, the Captain sailed through his first round against Paire, winning 62 64 61.
What can I say? It wasn’t much of a contest, even the Mighty Babes left their daddy to finish off his work after turning up for a few games. Paire never presented much of a challenge, and Federer barely needed to lift himself out of B-grade tennis the whole match.
But it was purty, it was teasing, and OH GAWD I HAVEN’T SEEN THIS TENNIS FOR SO LONG I NEED A MINUTE TO DEAL WITH SO MANY FEELS.
The post match on court interview with Courrier was entertaining as always. Hands up those of you who think Jim Courrier should just be given more air time, all year round, rather than for the 2 weeks down under. He’s a commentator who adds value to what he says, and appears put spectators and players alike at ease.
Thumbs up to Roger on the “compared to women, I’m nowhere” comment. As much as he just went along with the flow of conversation out there, it’s a comfort to know that he at least doesn’t share the views and insecurities of some of the dicks that he plays against.
And you know Mirka’s the ‘bad cop’. In fact, you know Mirka’s pretty much the boss to end all bosses.
See y’all at the Open tomorrow.
Emerald green may have been decreed by Pantone as the colour of the year, but the colour of the Happy Slam is clearly yellow, as both Nike, Adidas, and “the Others” all brought out cheery, yellow coloured gear as a homage to one of the national colours of the host nation.
If only the tennis was bright and cheery. Day 1 of the Aus Open brought with it a drama free procession of the top players, starting with Sugapova’s double bagelling of Puchkova, who more than lived up to the tired puns on her name. Read More…
1. Federer is 31-5 against potential opponents in his quarter (Davydenko, Tomic, Raonic and Tsonga). HULLO? That counts for something, right?
2. And let’s look closer at his potential opponents, shall we? Davydenko, who made final in Qatar before losing to Gasquet, but who has otherwise been wandering quietly on the wild moors of tennis oblivion for the past year. A tough second round? Absolutely. A genuine cause for concern? Probably not. Read More…