There is a certain limit to my love for tennis.
Outside the slams, the masters and premier tournaments, my interest (as many of yours too, no doubt) wanes dramatically. Challengers? Futures? Qualifiers? Err … what’s the difference? Who even plays those?
Oh relax. I’m kidding.
But perhaps it’s the tennistic dry season. Perhaps it’s the not-so-subtle way I flip open the free metro newspaper everyday to see a giant one page promotion of Tennis Australia’s December Showdown (“FREE ENTRY!”, it screams), or perhaps the silly season, the copious amounts of free time I have on my hands to indulge in silliness … regardless, I found myself hopping down to Melbourne Park for the morning to watch the Australian Open play-off for the wildest card of all time.
The tournament set up is a little confusing, although the prize was clear – a wildcard entry into the Australian Open. On the men’s side, a 32 men field form the usual singles knockout draw, while the women fight it out in Round Robins, drawn into green, magenta, yellow and blue groups.
The crowd, an eclectic mix of tennis parents, journalists, diehards, enthusiasts and those-in-need-of-a-tan, not to mention an amusing group of primary school kids on excursion, whose well-timed potty breaks provided some distraction when the play got dull.
Notable absences include 2007 Australian Open boys’ singles champion Brydan Klein, 2006 runner-up Nick Lindahl, and Dayne Kelly. While Lindahl’s temper and Klein’s racial slurs have been well documented, the bizarre twist in all of this seems to be that Nick Lindahl, who beat Tomic in last year’s play-off final, has suddenly decided to chase up his Swedish roots and defect to Sweden. As of yesterday, Bernard Tomic had also pulled out of the tournament, citing an undisclosed illness. Dude’s been off the radar since September this year, what’s going on there?
The tennis was … unremarkable and routine.
Being a challenger-tennis dummy, I naturally chose to stick to the main court (Court 8), where the players were recognisable and the shade was abundant. The downside to that was, of course, that we spent two hours watching Molik and Dokic gobble up their younger, much less experienced opposition with ease.
Molik put her recent losses on the Australian Pro Tour behind her and started proceedings with an easy victory over Queenslander Jade Hopper, 6-1 6-0. Overpowered and outserved, story of the match. What more did you want?
Jelena Dokic, of course.
Enter “Dokic Fanboy”: friend-of-a-friend who slid into my row 2 seats away from me.
On my other side, an elderly gentleman at alone, dressed formally in a dark suit and a hat. At times, he wore an expression so sombre, so stately, that I really fantasized about him being some sort of unrecognised Australian sporting great with heavy metalware in his cabinet.
Dokic Fanboy, on the other hand, was quite the opposite. “Ajde Jelena!” He yelled, as Dokic blasted away a short ball with interest, causing half the docile crowd to turn and stare at his emotional investment.
In a way, I can relate. I feel that way about Roger too, only in my case, I am never alone in my emotional investment. (In fact, I’m mostly out-psychoed by actual psychos whenever I attend Roger’s matches). Nor I am left with such a massive, gaping hole in my tennis-following calendar when my favourite player goes AWOL for 10 months of the season.
He tells me that Dokic has been working with a new coach, Glenn Schaap, remodelling her forehand and her serve, ‘because Jelena treats her second serves like a second chance at a first serve. Watch out for that.’
I did. And yes, her second serves still possess about as much subtlety as Wikileaks.
If the truism here is that “you’re only as good as your second serve”, Dokic’s second serve says a lot about the rest of her game: do-or-die, crimson-and-black, to the complete absence of grey. At times exhilarating, in equal measures frustrating. It’s the reason many love her. For those who don’t, I hazard a guess that she still tugs many heartstrings simply because of what she has been through in her career.
And miraculously, after everything, Dokic still can’t walk away. She is still out there on a fine December morning, clobbing away against a player 10 years her junior (def 62 62) for just one more shot after so many misses, one more chance at the Australian Open, at a glimpse of a career she could’ve had.
And there is still one die-hard fan sitting in the crowd, hanging onto every shot, taking the journey with her.
Roger lost. I iz sad.
1. 2nd major tournament of 2010, second early exit by Maria Sharapova. This follows her round 2 loss at Wimbledon and round 3 at the US Open. At least she sounded a lot optimistic than I do right now.
“It’s just the mystery of the unknown.We can only do so much and work as much as we can. It’s a combination of both physically and mentally just getting stronger and little steps.
I think I’m doing a lot better than other people that have had shoulder surgery in their careers. Some people have never come back. What, I’m 13 in the world or something? That’s a lot better than some of the girls I’ve lost to in the last year.”
It’s a long long road back from injury and it’s a rocky one. Not of the confectionary kind.
The common feature in her losses to Zheng Jie, Oudin and Kiriklenko over the past 6 month has been that she’s hit more winners, unforced errors and double faults than her opponents. It’s not that these victors were counterpunching pushers waiting for her to ‘give away the match’. It’s about her game having too much black-and-white, hits-and-misses and not enough grey.
Yes, grey is neither her style nor her personality. But it wouldn’t hurt to see some minor tweaks in her game. Especially with a whole new generation of Baby Sharapovas coming up with more consistency albeit less mental fortitude than Sharapova.
Still. Hard to be mad at Zheng Jie when she’s such a cute little rubber duck.
2. Non-upsets of the day: Gisela Dulko tells the story of a typical journeywoman – beating Justine Henin one day, winning a grand total of one game against Aga the next.
Comebacks are all the rage on the WTA tour – Alicia Molik crushes Lena Balt 60 62 to advance to the third round of Indian Wells.
Greul grilled Monfils 16 62 63, Blake blitzed Ferrer 61 64. Melzer melted Nalbandian by the inverse scoreline of 64 61.
No Fedbandian quarterfinal then? Le sad.
3. Of course, we were almost denied of a Federer quarterfinal of any kind altogether as Victor Hanescu took a set in his 36 76 16 loss to a chili-red Roger.
The first set was over a flash as Roger got up an early break and lost only one point on serve. You can be forgiven for expecting the second set to be just as straight forward. After his hawk-eye successes at the Australian Open, the Fed reverted back to his love/hate relationship with our favourite birdy.
Hey genius, two things you can’t argue against in tennis – hawkeye for a bad call, and a wall for outhitting you.
But it seems that taking a set off Hot Papa was all that Hanescu could manage before a third set burn-out. Roger upped his service percentage and closed out the deal with a breadstick, and took a few more vases home for Mirka.
Baghdatis next. Fear for your knickers.
4. Ana Ivanovic fell to Sevastova in her first match at Indian Wells. With this loss, she’s set to tumble out of the top 50 for the first time since 2004. It’s depressing. It’s humiliating. It’s well-publicised … or perhaps more appropriately – badly-publicised.
It’s just a awful story.
So I’m going to stop talking about it.
5. Wisdom from Bodo.
Sure, players have bad days, and women players often have bad days for biologically-related reasons that are never discussed (it goes against the grain of both good manners and our general social philosophy) but loom at the proverbial 800-pound gorilla in the room.
6. I’m a little late on this thanks to the internet fiasco at home, but Hit for Haiti 2 turned out to be the unfortunate clash of personalities it promised to be.
Rafa looked overawed at times and wasn’t nearly as relaxed and quippy as he was in Australia with Nole. Fed was goofy and McDreamy, and really tried to make things about as pleasant as he could.
Andre and Pete? Fire and ice.
From the outset, it felt like Andre was trying to overcompensate the humor of the night. Depending on your view of AA, either he got too relaxed and loose-lipped, or he set out to bait Pete in the first place. It didn’t help that Pete not only took the bait but took it badly. It was shocking, inappropriate, embarrassing. It was the walking-in-on-nasty-Christmas-fights kind of awkward. It made me want to rewind back to the part of the night that was still cheery and playful.
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Andre Agassi. The little kinks in his personality are what makes him one of the most intriguing characters in tennis. But this was no brainer – he said the wrong thing at the wrong time. He embarrassed Pete, who he knew wasn’t quick or sharp enough to tease back with the same sort of dark, edgy humor.
Not to mention: he did so at a charity match in front of 16,000 people. It killed the atmosphere and shifted the focus of the night from altruism to scandal.
When asked about the incident, Rafa said he didn’t understand it. Whether he was being genuine or just refusing to get involved we’ll never know.
Fed also downplayed the incident with a line I wish he used on the night to break the ice: “Now being a father I thought we had to give both guys a time out.”
Cracking dad jokes already are we?
7. To end on a positive note: bullying Roger? Bad idea.
1. WTA tennis sans Williams usually involves top seeds falling like dominoes. The upset bug is highly contagious, and it spreads fast amongst self-doubters and mental midgets. Justine Henin is neither of those things. This wasn’t supposed to happen to her.
But it did, as she fell victim to Gisela Dulko and the Pink Curse, 62 16 64.
Didn’t see a single game of the match, but the serve and general overplaying were to blame for the travesty. Can’t say I’m surprised about either. The third set of the Australian Open could’ve gone Henin’s way had she decided not to hit the snot out of the ball on every service return.
When Justine Henin came back from her 18 month sabbatical, the key difference is the aggressive mindset with which she returned. Yet at times, Justine seems to be unable to find the balance between aggression and doing enough to win.
Is it a matter of tactic or execution? Where will she fall on that fine line between aggression and self-destruction, kamikaze-styled?
2. Justine was not the only person affected by the tennis wobbles. CWoz had her fair share of scares, going down 1-4 against Vania King in the third set before pulling out a victory, 5-7 6-2 6-4. Meanwhile, Stella McCartney continues to be a plague on the Adidas House with this awful design.
Masha Fierce was two points away from double-faulting out of tournament in the second round against Vera Dush, before she found some semblance of consistency to level the match at one set a piece. She eventually closed out the third set convincingly, 46 75 62. Good fight back, I just wish we had seen that first round at the Australian Open.
Olga Govortsova might’ve lost to Demmy in 3 sets, but she scored with her cute little K-Swiss gear. I’ve never liked a pink outfit more.
3. On the men’s side of things, it was a quiet day as Blake and Nalbandian, the only noteworthy names scheduled today, both came away with straight-set wins.
A Federbandian quarterfinal is still on the cards, folks. Save your frazzles and keep your fingers glued crossed that Roger – oh hai Squishy Pie – doesn’t fuck this up.
And I don’t know who thought it would be a good idea to put James Blake in wash-out pink, but stop it. Just … stop.
4. It happens so often: a player like Federer or Nadal loses in a slam to a major challenger and questions of “is this the end” are raised.
In the case of Rafa, these questions take a specific angle – can his body handle it? Is he capable of playing a full season without injury? Will his dominance ever only come in spurts, rather than eras?
Well … a cutie-patootie picture for y’all while you contemplate those question.
Unlike the media, Rafael Nadal doesn’t ask himself those questions. At least if he does, we’ll never know about it.
“My feeling was I ready to win,” Nadal said. “I was believing I can win the tournament there. I had the chance against Andy, had break in the first, break in the second, and I was playing at very good level. Both players played really well, and I feel like I was at the top the whole time.”
I don’t know about being “at the top the whole time”. To me, it sounded like a few years back, when Djoko lost to Rafa in straight sets at Roland Garros and rocked up at the press conference saying “I felt like I was in control“.
In a way, I get Rafa’s point. It’s easy to get carried away with all this doom and gloom. If there’s one thing I learnt from Fed’s year in 2009, it’s that form is only temporary, but class is forever. A few good tournaments could be all it takes for Rafa to rampage through the clay and grass seasons.
“I think my feeling the level is much better now,” he said. “If I am healthy, just play the tournaments that I have on the schedule, I have good chances.”
Yet despite his injuries, Rafa stated that he does not intend to cut back on his clay season schedule (down for Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome, Madrid and Roland Garros).
“The only thing what I did, what I changed two times, I didn’t play in Hamburg [now the week of Madrid]. But I really don’t want to change if it’s possible.”
Can’t say that I think it’s a good idea. But Rafa’s the best judge, I’m sure. As long as you’re not injured by August dude.
5. Alicia Molik and Elena Baltacha through to the third round with wins over seeded players. The latter became the first British woman to beat a top 10 player in 12 years. Nice things are happening to nice people at last, after a string of injuries and health issues.
6. It seems that Lady Jaja is no longer pissed at Roger. Pfft, that’s called ‘Girl World’ for ya.
I just turned 25, and I’ve been on the tour so many years and played so many matches, Our season is so long that even in our offseason, which is short, you are training and your body wears out. It’s not how old you are, but how many miles you have put on your body and how many hours you’ve been out there. Many days, you wake up and everything hurts. You feel slow and heavy. A couple of years ago, I never got tired, I could run around the court and travel all over the place, and now I’m really feeling it.
You have to find ways to stay motivated, and that’s why I admire Roger Federer, because he never gets injured or tired or lacks motivation. It’s amazing. People think you are at the top of the game and you can be there for 10 years and it’s really hard. Even if you really love the sport, your body can’t do it. And then your game starts breaking down, you’re getting injured and your mind isn’t there either. It’s tough.
Source: MSN/Fox Sports
1. Oh they’ve done it again.
After snubbing Rafa for the Sportsman of the Year in 2008, Laureus has picked Bolt over Fed for Sportsman of Year in 2009. If a career slam and a record-breaking No 15 in the face of adversities aren’t enough, then I don’t know what is.
Perhaps they’re just waiting for present Fed with a special category of his own – Greatest Laureus of All Time.
GLOAT. Has a nice ring to it, don’t cha think?
2. Congratulations, nonetheless, to tennis recipients Kim Clijsters (comeback) and Serena Williams (Sportswoman of the Year). As much as I love Serena, either Laureus defines “sportswoman” purely on results and not conduct, or … it’s a weak era. Or something.
3. Tennis Australia isn’t the only organisation plagued by internal politics. Just a week after Britain’s defeat at the hands of Lithuania, rumors of a change of captaincy are rampant. Both Henman and Rusedski have been mentioned in various media reports.
I may see this differently as an outsider, but taking on the captaincy of the British Davis Cup team is just asking for failure. There is only so much a captain can do when he has so little to work with. Why would anyone want to take a job with such high expectations and so little means of fulfilling them?
4. Indian Wells results:
Easy, breezy for Justine Henin, who was dominant against Magda Rybarikova. Pink has never looked more unpink.
Things were less rosy for Jelena Dokic, who managed to hold serve just once in her 60 63 loss to Vera Dushevina.
Her Aussie compatriot fared better, as Alicia Molik sailed through to the second round. It wasn’t Wozniacki v Wozniak. Or Pe’er v Peers, but feel sorry for the umpire at the Molik v Malek match.
And Kimiko Date Krumm continued to put her youthful genes to good work, blitzing Melinda Czink for a 62 62 victory.
5. I’ve probably just Simon-Reeded her, but with Serena Williams out of the way and Kim Clijsters perceptibly wobbly post-Australian Open, this Indian Wells seems to be Justine Henin’s title lose. But Henin has her sights set on more medium-term goals.
“Mentally I need tennis, I need to play. Emotionally I feel better much better than in past. Physically I feel better than in Australia and after Miami I get three weeks until Fed Cup before I go back on my favorite surface [clay].
“The goal is the French and Wimbledon, so I’m not going to play too many weeks in a row. I’m not clear about my schedule before the French. My priority is to be fresh.”
Sounds like someone we know?
6. An ‘eyewitness statement’ of Roger’s practice sesstion. (clickey) 100% squishability.
Roger’s father, Robbie, joined the practice about half an hour into it, while Roger was taking a water break. As his father was making his way to the court, Roger exclaimed: “That is me in 5 years!”
Hi Monkey! We missed you too.
1. Fire! Water! Air! Earth!
No, it’s not some weird Captain Planet cult invented by Gen-Y Federer fans, just the new Wilson BLX racket.
You know you’re suffering from Federer withdrawal if you watched the entire thing despite the annoying voice and the background that looks like it was stolen from a TV promo for ‘Charmed‘.
Advertising fail, Wilson.
2. More on the earthquake in Chile: Gonzo has told the Chilean press that he might pull out of Indian Wells to raise money for Chile’s earthquake victims.
“What I want is to help, and I’m looking at the possibility of not going to play at Indian Wells and to stay in Chile to help.
“I have several ideas and in a couple of weeks I’ll try to do something to generate resources. I want to send a message of hope to all of Chile. What does not kill strengthens. I have received many messages from my colleagues, including Roger Federer, who is very concerned about what happened in Chile. I hope that we pull through this.”
Gonzo also asked his countrymen to stop the looting. “There are more important things than to go looting, we should all be united,” said Gonzalez, adding that he will try to raise Chilean spirits by leading them to a Davis Cup victory. “I hope to win and so give a little joy to our country is suffering so much.” [Chile’s DC tie against Israel has be rescheduled to start on Saturday]
He might act like an asshole on court at times, but Fernando Gonzalez is a decent guy who’ll do anything for his country. If you didn’t know that already from his performances at the Olympics.
You know who else is a decent guy? The Swissy who messaged his colleague out of concern.
3. Talk about earthquakes, the tectonic plates need to calm down.
After Haiti and Chile, Taiwan has also been hit by a 6.4-magnitude earthquake in the South. There is widespread damage and disruptions to communications around the island. Local news reports said several people were injured.
The Chinese Taipei Davis Cup team is in Melbourne, preparing for their tie against Australia this weekend.
4. Will he or won’t he?
First, Nalby tells the press that he’ll play Davis Cup on a wheelchair if he has to. Then he pulls out. Now, it seems that Bandy will be making an appearance after all in Argentina’s tie against Sweden. He’s down for doubles, but may play a singles rubber if things get close.
5. Indian Wells wild cards have been issued to Henin, Moya, Nalbandian, Ginepri, McHale, Glatch, Mattek-Sands, Molik, Daniilidou, Paszek, Ryan Harrison and Alja Tomljanovic.
Perfect. All need we – apart from a picket fence – is for TMF to make an appearance too.
6. Mentioning Indian Wells, casualties so far: Vesnina, Mirza and – I believe – the newly Americanised Tommy Haas. Haas recently underwent surgery on his right hip and is expected to be sidelined for up to 6 weeks, or – as retirement gossip has it -forever.
7. More pictures from Ethiopia, courtesy of SI.
A little medicine for all your withdrawal symptoms. ‘Cause I’m thoughtful like that. 😉
As soon as the OOP for Day 2 was out and Roger Federer was playing, the Day Session tickets for Rod Laver Arena sold out. In vain, my friend and I tried online, called the ticket centre, and visited the ticketek office, but there were no seats to spare for us pair of frazzlers. So we gave up the quest and got ourselves 2 ground passes, intending to catch a bit of Gulbis v Monaco.
But fortune favours the persistent. Hoping for some last-minute pot luck, we decided to line up outside Rod Laver Arena with around 20 other desperate Federer fans for any late tickets in the reserved section. After almost an hour of waiting, a ticket office personnel informed us that some seats have been freed on the lower deck next to the media section, and we were welcomed to take them.
So we happily purchased an upgrade, and snuck into our rather magnificent seats at 3-all first set. Just in time to see Roger Federer lose the next 3 games and drop the set 4-6.
It took all the dignity and self-respect I had not to throw my shoe at him.
For all his lack of temperament, Igor Andreev has a certain … Nadal in him. There’s the fact that in the 3 times they’ve played, Igor’s always been able to take at least a set off Roger, and has never appeared to be intimidated by the presence of God’s-Gift-to-Women. And then, there’s the forehand – unleashed with nuclear monstrosity and zero margin of error, pushing Federer well behind the baseline with sheer fearlessness.
Roger defended well throughout, but there can only be one result when the game is taken out of his hands and played on someone else’s terms: bald patches on Dootsie’s scalp.
While the second set temporarily appeased my nerves, the third set turned out to be the Sharapova-infested dystopia I never signed up for when I walked through the gates of Melbourne Park. After going up an early break, Roger attempted to serve out the match but won only one point. Serving to stay in the set 5-5, he was broken again with a string of horrendous errors.
Is there a worse sound in the world than a shanked forehand by one of your favourite players while your heart is pumping louder than Saturday night disco? At this point, everyone sitting around me was trying not to stare as I clutched onto my friend like a lunatic.
Meanwhile, pissy Fed was pure sex.
If only Andreev was anything like Rafa. Serving for the set at 6-5, Igor had a total of 3 set points to go up 2 sets to 1 on Federer – 3 second serves on the same side of the court. All 3 of them wide to Federer’s backhand. All 3 of them chipped harmlessly back cross-court into Andreev’s hitting zone.
All 3 of them shanked down the line by Andreev.
When Federer broke back that game and let out a roar that was mimicked around the arena, he also broke Andreev’s spirit. The tiebreak went in a flash, as Dootsie got up on her feet to give God’s-Gift-to-Women a standing ovation. Let’s all pretend that Roger saw it in his peripheral vision, and decided to reward me with a bagel.
As for Igor: close, but no premium Cuban cigar for you, sir.
It seems that the Australian Open is set on continuing to top itself with ludicrous scheduling. If Federer’s match was a full-house, then the night session featuring Hewitt and Molik was almost pathetic by RLA’s usual standards. It wasn’t that tickets weren’t sold, patrons just preferred to leave for the action on Margaret Court Arena, where Gasquet and Youzhny were putting on an orgasmically beautiful thriller. Not that I saw a second of it live, being stuck with good ol’ Rusty and Mollie.
But the Aussie patriots were out in full force last night, with Mexican waves, a few cheers that I recognised from my own high school days, and a rousing rendition of “Single Ladies”, complete with choreography.
Bolstered by the crowd, Lletyon Hewitt was as much in “full flight” as he’ll ever be, pummeling some poor Brazilian qualifier back into the oblivion where he belonged.
But Molik faced more of a tussle from Julie Coin, going up a set and 5-2 before choking slightly and letting her opponent flip the match. All credits to Coin, who had vastly improved from when I first saw her back in 2008 against Ana Ivanovic. She became much more consistent along the baseline once she got into the second set, and showed some surprising deft touch at the net.
Although Alicia will be disappointed with her loss, it was not a bad showing from her. She’s at least shown that she can play at a Top 100 level. But with an impending marriage and so much room to develop as a commentator and coach here in Australia, I just wonder if a comeback is worth the trouble.
And on that note, the rollercoaster ride that is Day 2 ended well past midnight into Day 3. Once again, I found myself crashing into bed, emotionally and physically exhausted, but completely gratified by the Federer scare and an evening of drunken Aussie camaderie.
Just for now though, I could do without both for the rest of the tournament.
‘Tis the season to be jolly, as they say, and why wouldn’t you be?
In the lazy, frazzle-free haze of the offseason, familiar faces are resurfacing everywhere. You know what they say about absence and fond hearts?
How could I have missed the orgasmic effects of an Henin backhand without her 18-month ‘retirement’?
Who knew I had this much love for Nalbandian and his tummy full of foxiness?
And didn’t you have a smile on your face too when you saw Alicia Molik and Casey Dellacqua on court at the Australian Open wild card play-off? …Well didn’t cha?!
Oh yeth! Old friends are back, and they’re back in a winning fashion.
Making his first appearance since being sidelined with a hip injury 7 months ago. Nalbandian defeated Massu and Gaudio at the Copa San Juan Minero, conceding only 7 games in 4 sets.
Having only seen the match against Massu, what can I say? Nalby was much better than I thought he’d be.
Remarkably self-assured throughout the match, Bandy served big, foxed his way around court and absolutely crushed that forehand at every opportunity he got. In fact, I was surprised at how effective his forehand was during the match and how happily at ease he looked.
Now the thought of Nalbandian lurking in the Australian Open draw of some hapless top seed officially makes me want to stick my head into a barf-bag. But hey, good to have you back, you foxy ninja!
The woman’s on a roll! Justine Henin capped off her exho tour with a straight-sets win over Nadia Petrova in Cairo. It was her first match on clay since the painful loss to Dinara Safina 18 months ago. Good to see the bitch of Roland Garros back on home turf.
Henin now goes into the Australian circuit with 3 straight-sets wins under her belt, 2 of which over fringe top 10 players. And she says she doesn’t have high expectations for the Australian Open? Right.
Here’s to hoping for a good draw. Like Nalbandian, Henin is just a land mine waiting to feast on the limbs of a few top players.
The Australian Open wild card play-offs kicked off this week at Melbourne Park, as Casey Dellacqua and Alicia Molik both made their appearances in hope of boosting Aussie presence at our home slam.
Molik, who retired for a year due to lingering illness and injury, looked fresh and happy as she downed 18-year-old Jade Hopper 6-1 6-2. She was soon joined by her sometime doubles partner Casey Dellacqua, as Dellacqua defeated Olivia Rogowska 76(10) 60.
The score line speaks volumes for how Rogowska fell apart after losing the first set, but from what I saw, Casey was hitting the balls cleanly enough.
Regardless of form, ranking or potential, you won’t find two more down-to-earth, happy-go-lucky players on the WTA tour. Welcome back ladies. Our Fed Cup team will be made of win next year.
Also on the comeback trail, Carlos Moya will be playing an exhibition tournament in Buenos Aires as preparation for a January return to the ATP.
Moya was sidelined with osteoarthritis in a foot, and injuries to the tendon and bone of the right buttock.
I wonder how he injured his right buttock.
In a good news week, I power through every report by every major news outlet, though they say much the same thing. In a bad news week, news come to find me and I run away screaming my denial.
In slow news week, I start quoting trashy Melbournian tabloids and caring about whether Stella McCartney is one of Maria Sharapova’s favourite designers. (FYI: she is, according to Harpers Bazaar Australia, who did a recent interview with her.)
But when worse comes to worst and slow comes to a halt?
We start the bra-burning, ladies.
1. Serena Williams has ‘reached boiling point’. She tends to do that.
Writing a blog for global.grind.com, Serena argued that John McEnroe and Jeff Tarango had got off lightly for their outbursts, while she was fined a record $92K.
McEnroe told supervisor Ken Farrar at the 1991 Australian Open to: “Go f— your mother.” Tarango walked off court at Wimbledon in 1995 and then criticised umpire Bruno Rebeuh, twice committing aggravated offences and earning a two-tournament grand slam ban.
Answer this: Why is it another player who also lost HIS cool not to a line judge – like I did – but to the main officiating judge- using the same “f word” why was HE only fined 10 thousand dollars. Was what I did 10 times worse than what he did?!
There is another HE who was fined less than half of what I was fined after someone in his camp actually physically ATTACKED an official!!!!
What about the famous HE who made arguing with officials “cool”. Cool for “MEN” I guess.
Is it because they are all HE’s and not a SHE like me?
Well well well … I was wondering when this was coming. One would not expect Serena Williams to take a fine like that lying down, and clearly, her PR team doesn’t have to the sense or guts to shut her up either.
Don’t even get me started on her reference to the first amendment. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom to tell someone which part of their body you’d like to shove a ball into.
As much as I’d like to invite you to my bra-burning party Serena, this is not a case of sexism. Sure, Tarango was fined less, but he was banned from 2 slams. How much money does Serena Williams make per slam?
As for John McEnroe, he wasn’t defaulted from a high-profile grand slam semifinal but rather a 4th round match. He wasn’t the No 2 player in the world, nor did he threaten to shove anything down anyone’s throat. Johnny Mac did not live in the age of youtube, twitter and social media that made the incident front page news of every paper in the West.
The key here is impact, and there is no question that Serena’s outburst reflected poorly on herself and the sport, causing negative media coverage worldwide. I’m not for scapegoating, but her actions and their global impact did warrant a hefty fine.
When I look at Serena, I see a woman who has rarely been given the benefit of the doubt by tennis officials. That is not a coincidence. But the fine itself had nothing to do with race or gender. This wasn’t what the 1960s feminists had in mind when they burnt their bras in search of liberation.
I also see an emotional girl who has come through a tough life, yearning for acceptance. But acceptance is precisely the reason why she needs more than anything to take the high road here and show some humility.
This rant wasn’t about meritorious argument, sexism and what-not. This was her way of getting a long history of controversy off her chest. But tactically, it was a wrong move to go on this rant. Very few people noticed her attempt to retrace the injustices of her past, but everyone noticed that she accused the ITF of sexism and unequal treatment.
And you want feminism? Here’s a quote for ya, “women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.” You can do better Serena. Not worse.
2. While Serena was ranting away about the ITF’s ‘sexist’ fines, the WTA has asked fans on their website to err … vote for Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic on the “Top 99 Most Desirable Women of 2010” list of AskMen.com.
Oh the irony of it all.
Tell me, when was the last time the ATP asked us to vote for Roger or Rafa on People Magazine’s ‘sexiest men’ list? Is the WTA the governing body of a group of professional athletes or a group of B-grade pin-up girls? Maria and Ana are both invited to my bra-burning party.
You want to promote women’s tennis and professional female athletes? Then get real. Start acting like their employer, not their pimps.
3. Congratulations to Alicia Molik on her recent engagement to mystery Perth man. Here’s to hoping her flourishing personal life inspires a decent comeback from her. We (or I) have missed her smile.
She’ll be playing the Australian Open wildcard tournament next week. (clickey)
4. Dinara Safina seems to have inherited the misery train from her brother. Girl has pulled out of the Brisbane tournament, citing a back injury. (clickey) You don’t just descend from the lofty No 1 spot, you come crashing down like a burning meteor.
5. The IOC has approved plans for mixed doubles at the 2012 Olympics.
Dream teams: Federer/Mirka. Federer/Hingis. Safin/Kuznetsova.
Teams of horror: Federer/Bacinsky? No. Just no. I’d rather take up Swiss citizenship myself. Tsonga/Bartoli? Poor Jo.
Any bets that Fed no-shows for mixed dubs instead?
6. In news unrelated to bra-burning, but likely to induce knickers-tossing, Roger Federer is the most googled tennis player of the year. (clickey)
Shocker, heh? He is also the latest inductee in Britain’s Who’s Who. Along with Brad Pitt. I felt the need to provide you all with that piece of information.
Help! It’s the offseason, WHAT THE FUCK AM I SUPPOSE TO BLOG ABOUT NOW?
Here I was, looking forward the summer vacation and this little thing called “a life”. Yer know – free from the crazies of tennis fandom and the CV-building, corporate-ladder climbing maniacs of law school.
Well … turns out that “having a life” is as much of an urban myth as a chryogenically frozen Walt Disney, so it’s time I get my ass out of “denial”and move towards “acceptance”. I accept that I do not have a life. Never had one. Don’t know what having a life feels like. I imagine it feels wonderful and farcical, like being stuck permanently in an Oscar Wilde play. Lemme know if you have one.
Semi-newsworthy stuff this week: