Aus Open Day 6: Quarter Millenium
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.
Quotable Quotes: Out of chances.
I feel unstoppable, I feel I’m playing great tennis.
When you know no-one can beat you, not to even the number one, you’ve got a good feeling and it’s amazing stepping on court.
Okay, okay I geddit. There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance, and how you want to read Tomic’s comments after his win in Sydney depends on your opinion of Tomic. And I hear the other side of the argument from Tomic Apologists as well: the guy is young! We’ve been harsh on him for things that other young people do. He’s confident! What’s wrong with that? He just went for a whole … 2 weeks undefeated, including against the No 1 player in the world. He’s allowed to be a little cocky. We should judge him so harshly because of his history because some of his earlier controversies were all because of his father. And boyyyyy … aren’t we glad we’re through with that man? Bernard Tomic is the “bad boy” of Australian tennis, and hey – everybody loves a bad boy, right?
Right. Let’s look at Tomic’s history here: Read More…
Beyond the end of the world.
2012 post US Open happened in a blur. Full time work, training, admissions and life in general caught up with me and through it all, I lost the apetite for tennis. But there’s nothing like an Aussie heatwave to bring back happy memories of getting sunburnt on a tennis court.
And just in the first week of tennis for 2013, Toothface monotoned his way into the hearts of Brisbanites after defending his title there; Serena showed why it’s just too easy when you are the Queen S of the WTA; Vika suddenly found it quite convenient to be a woman; Ashley Barty, who I saw for the first time last week, proved to be a totally different player to the stereotypical young hype that I imagined (she could, however, do with a post-pubescent growth spurt). Monica Puig popped onto my radar for the first time in her 3 set loss to Angelic Carebear to remind me why I should (as always) watch more women’s tennis. And instead of actual match analysis, Channel 7 told me for the 573926th time that Grigor Dimitrov “modelled his game on Federer’s” for an entire week.
The real hype of the week Down Under though, was Bernard Tomic, who has managed to make the good people of Oz pee-pee themselves with excitement by winning an inconsequential match against B-grade Djokovic. But even the most inconsequential wins go some way towards redemption, especially when backed by a week of solid tennis in a nation starved for a modicum of talent.
Aaaand then … there is the anti-hype. Surely Sam Stosur is on some sort of quest to break the record for most number of consecutive matches lost on Australian soil? Watching Stosur’s 3 set loss Zheng Jie today, I am forced to come to one of those cliché conclusion that “God is fair”. He gave Stosur the power and weaponry to beat any player on the WTA tour, but none of the instincts and court-savvy. Zheng Jie on the other hand …
In amidst the hype and anti-hype, there are the notable voids. Where is WOGER? Where is WAFA? As much as I refuse to be yet another person to proclaim the end of the “Fedal era” (oh honey, that ended 3 years ago), what’s clear is that the Fedal party clearly ain’t gonna be on for the early hardcourt season this year.
But don’t despair, Woger has plenty of worthy frenemies to party with Down Under. And he’s even brought out the Pink Panther for Melbourne Park!
6 days til the Aus Open!
US Open 2012 Day 5 Recap: It’s not exactly over yet.
Another one of the Grandpa Generation is off to the sunset after US Open – for Andy Roddick is hanging up his racquets after US Open.
There’s no way any decent tennis fan would have missed the announcement that one of the most colourful (if not exactly the most agreeable) personalities of the tour is retiring. With him meeting one of the stars of the Generation After Nadal-Djokovic-Murray, Bernie Tomic – it was supposed to be the marquee match of the US Open thus far. Fair to say some expected Bratomic to end the career of A-Rod. After all, he’s 11 years younger (on paper anyway ;)), supposedly stronger and faster, nearing the peak of his game whilst Roddick is on his swan song.
Arthur Ashe was packed to the capacity for that match, nearing the crowds of a final even. If Roddick was to go out, he would go out with a bang and in front of thousands of Americans.
But Roddick was not done yet. Read More…
Minding Your Ps, Your Queues, and Your Wimbledon Haikus
Those who braved the Wimbledon queue on Tuesday night received precious ducats to the All-England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club for Wednesday’s session of play on the most hallowed grounds in tennis. Spectators who gained entry to this sport’s most prestigious event were fittingly reminded of the enduring reason why matches are won and lost.
Why did Ernests Gulbis… pull an Ernests Gulbis against Jerzy Janowicz? Why did Caroline Wozniacki (now known to this writer as “Bus Driver” — she wants to know if chair umpires attended school, after all…) continue her downward spiral with a first-round exit against Tamira Paszek?
Why did Tsvetana Pironkova – to the immense relief of Ye Olde Picket Fence Blog’s Owner And Publisher – not win a single one of her five set points against Maria Sharapova? Read More…
AO2012 Day One Wrap (By LJ)
This time last year I was soaking up the sun in Melbourne, chillun’ with Wog and PJ, checking out the sights on Day 1 of AO2011. But this year alas, it was first day back at work after summer break, so I had to be content with following the scores online.
So before we get onto perving at Mr Grandpa-sore-back here are some of the interesting outcomes of the day.
Bernard “The Annoying” Tomic beat Nando, in 5…from 2 sets down. Kid had nothing left in the tank afterwards but kudos to Tomic for his tough mental fortitude in the heat. And Fer…tough luck drawing someone who’s got more mental toughness than you on a hot day.
Bad day for the Brits as 5 went home with hardly a fight. Some of the other seeds to fall early were Pennetta, Monaco, Melzer, Wickmayer and Ljubydaddy.
Kolya again had a bad showing, losing in 5 but Delpo made it in 4. Jarkko Niemenen retired due to abdominal strain against Nalby which was disappointing after his win in Sydney on Sunday. But I’m glad my BB Greeegor Dimitrov made it through in 5 over Jeremy Chardy.
The rest of the seeds rolled comfortably, including Rafa, overcoming the trollage of his knees yesterday.
My knees are fine no? I just sprained it sitting in chair, thinking of how to become roselike…
Mr Gramps-sore-back made it through in 3 against a very big hitting and incredibly unpredictable qualifier journeyman, Alexander Kudryavtsev. Kudryavtsev hit some screaming winners at stages, baffling Gramps, but faded after a groin strain midway through the match.
Rog had a nice collection of backhand and forehand shanks along with ill placed net play. Net play was especially lacking and bad today but probably because his opponent hit so big and so fearlessly. But a couple of times he stepped up during the crucial stages and managed to set up BPs and set points with cracking forehand returns.
Regal hand wave…
The post match interview by Courier was as entertaining as ever. Asked if he would coach his own daughters, Rog remarked…
Of course I would…I don’t have much of a choice I guess! I’d very happily give that to my wife…
and Mirka…went all BOSS on him.
and bonus twin pic from the match.
As for War of the Roses…there is no war because King Roger didn’t feel like partaking, cause you know…his royal highness is above all this plebian shit…plus he went all UN in the presser and will be the successor to Ban Ki-moon. or something.
That was roughly how Day 1 went folks…much more tennistical drama to come…
Davis Cup – Australia vs Switzerland Days 3/3.5 Wrap aka Maker of Men (by LJ)
Where do we start the story of Stanislas the Manislas? He who was made extra manly on this Sunday in history. PJ below has but already expounded on his manliness so I guess let’s start at the beginning of the day.
My inner circle of federites arrived early hoping to catch our man practicing but alas as he was playing the 1st match he was done by the time the gates opened. Instead I amused myself by reminiscing about my childhood tennis watching days seeing these guys out on court.
Lleyton was practicing and he looked sharp and ready to go. He looked like he was going to “Cut a bitch” today. I was scared for Stan, but then I didn’t even know if Stan was playing, I spent the majority of the day thinking I was going to cheer on poor Marco who was going to be destroyed.
Rog started off blisteringly against Tomic, taking fast aggressive grass court tennis to the teenager. Shutting down his slices with venom, and like always showing who’s freaking BOSS.
But then Mirkaland happened along wind, leaves/twigs and stuff littering the court and tarpaulins blowing off makeshift broadcast towers in the 3rd…causing complete distraction. Tomic then took it with his own brand of aggressive tennis, and I was impressed with his effortless power. If the kid can dial his game and tactics on the hard courts, he’s going to be top 20 for sure.
But then by the 4th, it ended just as fast as it started. Rog was pushed but he was never really in danger.
So…tied at 2-2…we heard that Stan would be playing the final deciding rubber. I had all but given up hope for a Suisse win. Gimpy Useless Stan against Lleyton “I will cut your heart out with a spoon and eat it in Davis Cup ties” Hewitt on a dinky grass court in Sydney? All signs pointed to a steamroll by Hewitt.
So I took my leave of the court in the break between matches and chilled by the railing outside waiting for Roger to come by. Dude took his freaking time, the 1st set was over before I went back in again and all because I wanted to take photos like below for all you perverts out there.
So I get back into the main court. On serve 2nd set. Then Stan pulls a break near the end to take the set. Okay we thought, he has a set, he can lose without embarrassment. And then the 3rd set happened. Breaks were traded like the WTA and at 5-4, Stan had BP 30-40 to take the set. Rusty drops it short at the net, Stan comes in for an easy backhand pass up the line…and he MISSES IT by inches….OUUUUUUUUUT.
I threw my hands up and went “STAN YOU NOB!!!!!!!” I thought that was it. Rusty comes back, drives off another few BPs in that game and holds later to take it to the tiebreak. Up a few early minibreaks, Stan brainfarts 1304987102397109273 set points and loses the 3rd in over 70min. We all thought, this is it…Hewitt will roll through the 4th.
I should also mention that at this stage it started getting ridiculously cold in the stands, the sun was going down, PJ had a flight to catch, we ALL wanted the match to be over and done with so we can go home to hot chocolate or something.
But then something happens in the 4th. Rusty double faults a few times, clearly not having enough leg strength to push off on the serve and suddenly…Stan wins the 4th…the stands are going FUCKING NUTS!!!!…WE WERE GOING FIIIIIIIIIIVE…my Swiss flag was out and I waved it obnoxiously around all the Aussie supporters around me.
Suddenly we all started caring…like WHUT??? but 2 hours ago, we were all happy for Stan to just lose and get it over and done with…what the hell happened? It was getting tense…and dark. So cold and dark that I stopped taking pictures. We all feared the worst, BAD LIGHT, will it get called off before it finished?
At 2-2 Stan somehow broke again, I don’t remember much of it other than utter disbelief that he broke, and then cheering like a madwoman. At 4-3 Pat Rafter had a long argy bargy with the UMP, I thought it was going to be called then but no…2 more games the UMP said. Stan Holds…5-3 and it finally gets called. Mutters of discontent ring around me. Personally I was glad they freaking called it, I couldn’t survive a “real life version of Wimby 08” and I don’t think Roger would have appreciated it either.
So we all got on the buses and went home, with none to return the next day. It would be up to fate we gathered. But in our conversations afterwards we were all incredulous at Stan’s effort, pretty much summed up in this gem of a quote by Princess Rog. That night we would all do anything for Stan.
After such a performance the Day before, there was no way that I would be happy unless Stan won the match. It only took 1 game on the morning of the 4th day to decide it. Against a seriously injured Hewitt, all Stan had to do was keep the ball in play and thus as anti-climactic as it was…the tie was won. Le Suisse was back in the world group and Australia again has to spend another year in the wilderness of group I.
I’d also like to take this opportunity to talk about Hewitt. What an absolutely tenacious human being. You know, I used to hate him with vigour, everything he embodied irked me. But in his old age (for a tennis player) he’s really hard not to root for. And he left himself out there on that court, he fought, he struggled and he almost took it. He put in possibly the most effort of all the players in this tie and it must be gutting to not have pulled out the win.
Davis Cup is a maker of men and fraught with more drama than Dynasty. It’s where tennistical battles are fought, leaving courts bloodied in the wet salty tears of a country’s favourite sons. One only has to watch the utter agony of Djokovic retiring to Del Potro to understand that there is something intrinsically more to Davis Cup than just tennis.
So it is that which makes Stan…THE MAN…of this tie. He went in a gimpy boy, sulking at his own misfortunes and came out a man whom made his own destiny in the twilight of a Sydney spring. We can no longer question his commitment and tenacity in Davis Cup. After this gutsy performance Wawrinka has proved himself and we are all better for it.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this collection of mishmash wraps and photos from the Davis Cup tie. I myself felt nothing but complete privilege to witness 3 days of amazing tennis and drama…and of course…Roger Federer on grass. Certainly a dream come true and nothing less. It was a completely epic and captivating tie and will leave me an experience to cherish forever.
I’d like to thank the following PJ, JodiMcA, Ceciliase7en, Lizibef, Specifite, Amy and cb_s for sharing it with me.
We hope to bring you some FPF before Shanghai kicks off with more tennis next month.
~photos by moi – Day 3 all here
Davis Cup – Australia vs Switzerland – Day 1 Wrap (by LJ)
So finally returning to Sydney after 9 years, Wogie Mcfed and his fellow Swissies take on the bright lights of Aussie tennis. The ground is the hallowed grass at Royal Sydney Golf Club. A Club so exclusive that for mere plebeians it probably takes 20+ years just to get on the waiting list.
Luckily due to the current ironic plebeian nature of tennis spectatorship, a bunch of us got to mush the golden paddock beneath our feet and it was glorious.
First up, young Tomic took on a slightly hobbling Ewok. Grass being Ewok’s least favoured surface it was clear that he pretty much just wanted to get out of there. After taking the 1st set, My Friend Stanley promptly rolled over to Tomic’s junk balls and excellent poise in 4 sets, 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-3.
Tomic showed maturity and patience, outlasting Stan the man in most rallies and waiting for his opponent to implode on the rest. Stan looked far from best and he realised that his man, Rog, needed to save the day.
Before Rog took the court, myself and my merry band of Federites tried a bit of stalkage at the walkway to the court. Alas, he kept alluding me, the others may have got better pics, but for me he hid behind bushes and his physio before he miraculously appeared red and ready on court.
Rog started fast against Hewitt who was having an AWESOME serving day. But once Hewitt adjusted his returns, Rog turned to his furdish ways an couldn’t find a 1st serve and subsequently lost the 1st set 5-7. My entire row of Federites went white as sheets and by the time he went down a break early in the 2nd we were all swearing precociously at him.
But thankfully, he finally figured out that he was here to play tennis and not just look pretty against the green backdrop. Hewitt fought valiantly but there was a clear night and day between the pace of his strokes and that of his Swiss nemesis. It all ended happily for us 5-7, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, 6-3 with some insanely high quality stuff in the 3rd and 4th sets. Revenge taken for that epic 5 set loss back in 2003, which in actuality, let’s not forget, started the Reign of Fed the Great.
So first day over 1-1, doubles tomorrow, hopefully more Wogie and *finger* crossed Swissies come out with the win.
Now I’ve see Roger Federer play on grass, I can finally attest to him being an absolute religious experience. For at least 2.5 sets today, anyway 😉
~photos by moi, the rest are here
US Open 2011 (by LJ): Day 1 wrap
Day 1 of the US Open 2011, and there was something palpably missing in the air. The OOMPH of Slam excitement carried away by Hurricane Irene perhaps. The crowd was subdued and the players mostly went about their business, the seeds not finding much rhythm but then the unseeded found even less. Basically everyone was a bit mopey having walked out of their caves for the first time in a few days.
Wogie Mcfedpants made short work of Santiago Giraldo, 6-4 6-4 6-2, so says the scoreline but those who watched felt the uneasy moments as Mcfedtastic lost momentum and started showing poop for brains at crucial moments. Leading 5-1 in the first, he was broken serving for the set and then got broken to love in the next service game. Worrisome? Probably not but there was enough frazzling on my twitter timeline to suggest that peeps were a little agitated. Save the agitation for later folks, we’re in for a tough road ahead.
Fed’s next round will be up against Dudi Sela whom dispatched a clearly hobbling Thomas Belluci in 5 sets.
Red- perhaps-not-so-hot-Cilic-Pepper took out Ryan Harrison in ugly fashion. Harrison could have easily taken the match to a 4th and squandered it with his padawan youth. Back to Bollitieri academy m’dear. Cilic will play Tomic in one of the best matchups in the 2nd round on paper. Hope it won’t turn into the Aus Open 2010 meeting, where I stayed for 2 sets and decided to leg it back to the hotel before I fell comatose to boredom.
Tomic showing clear signs of his talent and form, downed US journeyman Michael Yani in comfortable straights. Like it or not, IMO the kid has the goods and his style is good for tennis and Australian tennis in particular.
Don’t-Call-My-Name-Falla defeated Troicki in 5, in a match that Troicki should have won. But Troicki is an ass so whatevs. Llodra and Petzschner also came through in 5.
Kei Nishikori retired injured once again. I wonder when the kid will catch a break. He was 1 of 3 Japanese players to retire hurt today.
I’ll leave you with my favourite picture of the day from the men’s side. My BB Greegor forgot to face the net and thus lost in straights to Le Monf.
Biggest upset of the day was earned by Petra Kvitova, going down in straights to Alexandra Dulgheru of The Ukraine. Kvitova is clearly going through her post-slam slump but Dulgheru, ranked top 50, is no easy opponent for a 1st round and Kvitova was clearly sluggish and her timing was completely off.
Shreiky needed 3 sets to get past GB up and comer, Heather Watson. I like Watson, like Laura Robson I think she’s got a good head on her shoulders but experience took over as she faded in the 3rd.
Speaking of Robson she was leading Ayumi Morita before the latter folded to shoulder injury. Bad day for Japanese players.
Nadia Petrova struggled through in 3 and the rest of the women’s matches played out according to script.
So that’s that, first day down, 13 to go.
To leave, I’d like to address this fashion faux pas of the day:
WHAT IN THE FUCK IS THIS????
They look like those Korean tube socks people used to turn up in in high school…like…WHUT???? PLS EXPLAIN!!!!!
Till tomorrow, adios amigos
Picket Fence Newsreel: Opening Jitters.
Just a few short notes of the day.
1. Aww, poor Nole. It’s not your fault you look like a ball boy who just peed himself.
Despite progressing through with relatively straightforward scorelines, there were some jitters for both Nole and Mandy in their opening performances in Dubai.
Nole took out Garcia-Lopez 6-4 6-4, but not without going mentally AWOL midway through the second set to squander a 5-0 lead. Eventually, he managed to close the match out in straight sets for his first top 50 victory in 2010.
In a similarly “stirred but not shaken” manner, Mandy started the match against Kunitsyn with a dramatic 25-minute second game, which featured nine break points for Murray. He eventually won the game and along with it the first set.
While Murray was broken in the first game of the second set, he broke back and raced to a 4-2 lead, eventually finishing the match 62 63. Not a bad score, but some truly atrocious serving.
2. By comparison, Marin Cilic’s opening victory over Clement was just as simple as its score would indicate – 62 64.
Save your energy, Marin. They say revenge is a dish best served cold, but I want it hot. Red hot and full of Cilic Peppers. You know who it’s for.
3. Stan has officially committed to Switzerland’s Davis Cup tie against Spain. He’ll be playing his first match since the birth of Mademoiselle Wawrinka.
Now that Rafa’s out, would it still be too optimistic to hope for a competitive tie?
4. Mentioning the Davis Cup, all the douchebaggery in the world could not stop Australia from putting Bernard Tomic on the Davis Cup team.
With Hewitt sidelined by ab injury, Tomic and Luczak are down to play singles against Taiwan, with Carsten Ball and Paul Hanley scheduled for doubles.
Tomic will be 17 years and 135 days old by the time of the Taiwan clash – making him the youngest Davis Cup team member in Australian history.
Still. It kills me to have someone so classlessly immature representing my country.
5. Mentioning Aussies, Nick Lindahl is through the quallies in Delray Beach. Best of luck to him for the tournament.
6. WTF result of the day: Sharon Fichman def Sorana Cirstea 6-2 6-0.
Your thoughts …