Okay, so I’m a little less pissed and more coherent than I was on Sunday morning, but I’m still perplexed…like most of you… with the Tennistical Fuckery that was the Swiss Davis Cup campaign over the weeked.
So the last time we left the Swiss Davis cup team, they were doing this…
We were all celebrating the fact that Stan the Man finally grew some Davis Cup cajones and we were all looking forward to a possible run by the Swiss at the big prize this year. On paper it looked like a given, the US on slow clay AT home, in Swissyland…perfect right? Uh…not so much.
Of course most of us dismissed the actual stats. Mardy Fish ranked 8, John Isner, 17. Mike Bryan, one half of the world’s number 1 doubles team. But don’t worry…the yanks are shit on slow clay…so we thought. Nevermind that John Isner was the first person ever to take Rafa to 5 sets at Roland Garros…oh no…but that was a total fluke right?
yah…these guys thought so too…
And you know what? maybe a little too much fun. When Fed came out in the pre-tie presser saying win or lose he’s happy just to be with the boys something went uh-oh in my head. It almost seemed like the Swiss were a little laissez faire going into the weekend.
So in the making of the perfect example of why Davis Cup is about team depth and Captaincy, the US team came in well prepared, and hungry…hungry to WIN. Although his suit wasn’t to the levels of Swiss snappiness, Captain Jim Courier was all levels of business. He had ONE job to do this weekend…and it was to win.
In the first rubber, Wawrinka and Fish dueled in a 5 set fest of sloppy tennis and chokeage. Up 2 sets to 1, Wawrinka collapsed in the 4th, giving Fish all the momentum in the 5th. Wawrinka played mostly reactive tennis, reacting to Fish’s kick serve and reacting to the pummeling of his backhand. When he broke back late in the 5th, he did so with 3 crosscourt FH winners…a shot that he basically shied away from the entire match…and thus we had this…
Yeah, if i came across this dude in a dark alley, you better be believin’ I’d be running for my life. After winning a tight but manageable 1st set where Isner was broken early, Fed get’s broken in the 2nd set after Isner hits 3 screaming winners off Fed’s wide serves. And soon the issues with the court were getting obvious.
At 2000m above sea level, the court in Fribourg was making the ball bounce high but the clay itself wasn’t slow enough. It gave ample trouble to both the 1-handed backhands of Wawrinka and Federer, but it gave just enough time for the likes of Isner to pound his groundstrokes.
I decided to sleep after the 2nd set (at this point I’d been up for 21 hours) and woke up to a 4 set loss. A result I entirely expected. It had the hallmarks of the Soderling match at FO2010, Federer was given no riddum to work with and Isner was teeing off on his serves and groundstrokes.
Also Fed was pissed at the bad bounces on the court. I thought the court at Royal Sydney was bad but obviously the guys at Fribourg took a page out of the same book. And when Fed is frustrated…the results usually aren’t good. Frankly I should start betting on tennis since I’m doing quite a good job of predicting final results after the 2nd set.
So fuck…yeah, the Swiss go into the doubles 0-2 down. Now after watching Federinka at Royal Sydney last year, I was not impressed. People harp on about how they won the Oympics yadda yadda yadda…Folks…that was FOUR FUCKING YEARS AGO….and it was best of 3 (bar the final)
Again like at Royal Sydney, Federinka comes out guns blasting and win the 1st set. But soon in the 2nd, the wheels start falling off. The silly errors start and they stop communicating. Against a Bryan and a prettty good dubs player himself, Fish, you just can’t afford to be that shite.
I’m not going to go as far to say the Olympics gold was a little flukey, but as a pair, these guys are just not best of 5 quality. And possibly because they’re usually gassed after their singles rubbers on day 1. But at times both had some mind blowingly FACEPALM-worthy errors in the match.
So anyway, USA go on to sweep the tie 5-0 (Lammer and Chiudi fought bravely but alas)…here’s some manlove…
Kudos to Courier for coming in with the perfect gameplan (To not let Roger Federer play tennis supposedly) and kudos to his team, especially Isner for executing the plan perfectly. I don’t like playing blame games but a few big things let the Swiss down in this tie:
- The court and location shot the Swiss in the foot
- Lack of focus, authority and gameplan exerted by Severin Luthi
- Lack of focus and cajones from Wawrinka.
- Lack of fight and refocus from a one Roger Federer, after tight 3rd set losses, happened in Australia and happens here again against Isner.
I never thought this tie would have been a easy gimme for the Swiss like some media outlets said. But had Wawrinka won the first rubber, Isner would not have had as much freedom to swing as freely as he did. And we could have woken up today to a 3-2 win by the Swiss. But this is how close tennis gets…a few games here and there late in the 5th set decides everything.
So yeah, I was pissed…and angry…albeit mostly for selfish reasons really. I stayed up almost 21 hours to see both 1st day singles rubbers, I paid 10 bucks for the ITF stream for the weekend and FUCK…I expected more from the Swiss team…
…but hey, we all have our bad days right?
…but promise to try harder next time alright?
P.S. How ahmazing are Swiss Tennis crowds? I will forever cherish the sound of a GIANT cowbell…
The fanfiction, you guys. They are WRITING THEMSELVES after Roger’s epic comment about sleeping in Stan’s bed and doing whatever Stan wants him to do (relevant quotes ahoy!)…
(Somewhere in Spain, Rafa is either crying and/or writing sad love songs and/or performing voodoo on Stan)
This is my little pictorial tribute of the Swissies this weekend, the two heroes, Roger Federer and Stanislas ‘the Manislas’ Wawrinka. I looked through my photos of their doubles match and picked some photos of them looking especially squishy and matchy. Even though they ended up losing that match (and Stan was all like, “get me off this fucking court” towards the end)…I gotta say, these two really have a lot of chemistry.
LJ has dibs on the proper blogging on the conclusion of the super spectacular Australia-Switzerland Davic Cup tie – so wait for it!
But I just want to say my bit on this…how AWESOME is My Friend Stanley!? Honestly. I gave him something like negative three zillion chance to beat Lleyton Hewitt in that deciding rubber. Simply because:
1) Stan is injured (leg). From the matches on Friday and Saturday, it was quite clear that he wasn’t moving very well.
2) Grass is his worst surface, he doesn’t like grass and he’s quite crap on grass.
3) Lleyton Hewitt, the classic DC warrior. Before Rafa Nadal, there’s Lleyton Hewitt. No matter how injured or how gimpy or how old this guy is – he just doesn’t give up. Those words are not in his vocabulary. The surface favours him, the home crowd advantage favours him and the Davis Cup mentality favours him. Lleyton can suck at all other tournaments in the universe and he simply just doesn’t suck at Davis Cup. I firmly believe if he were to collapse and die on court, he’ll find some way to resurrect himself, and win the match with a C’MAAWWWWWNNNN right at the opponent’s face.
All the above is true. But then, a very different Stan showed up…a very very determined Stan, who was like, “fuck all about this crap surface, the Fanatics heckling my second serve, the leaves falling on my head and that freak across the net who doesn’t know how to die…I’m going do it for Rogeeeeee!!!” (Maybe not that last part, but then again, may that last part is the catalyst…heh heh heh)
He came out thinking he can win. He came out WANTING to win. He came out PLAYING to win (third-set mental cramping aside). And that made all the difference. At the end of it, Hewitt DID end up being half dead and was barely able to walk, but still gritted his teeth and walked on the court. Sadly, he couldn’t save the tie. As determined as that heart was, the body wasn’t holding up.
I’m pleased that Stan/Switzerland won (there’s no other outcome I would want after Stan’s tremendous showing yesterday, would have been absolutely devastated if he didn’t pull through today), but seeing Hewitt dragging that battered body off-court, it kinda broke my heart a little. He would’ve been crushed beyond crushed at not being able to do it for Australia. Say what you may about him – but this man is all heart when it comes to his country.
I hope this will bode well for Stan, going forward in his career. He’s a proper Davis Cup hero for Switzerland (although not in the magnitude of Fernando Verdasco or Novak Djokovic, seeing that those two won the Cup for their country), winning that crucial match AGAINST ALL ODDS. No one gave him a chance, and he came out and whacked everyone’s doubts into submission with his one-handed backhand. Regardless of Hewitt’s injuries, beating this man – who clawed back two sets to love down and a break down to hand McFed his most painful defeat in the 2003 Davis Cup – in his home court, is very very massive. And Stan should reap lots of inspiration from that.
I’ll end this quick blog entry with an open-letter to Stan:
YOU RULE ALL AND YOU’RE AWESOME-POSSUM!!
P.S. Photos are mine. I have a bunch to be edited, uploaded and shared…whenever I get to it. *lazy* For now, here’s a small batch from Day 1.