Tag Archive | Brisbane International

Federporn Friday (By LJ) – It’s been too long…

Wow, looking back it’s been almost a FULL YEAR since the last Federporn Friday post. I guess there wasn’t much to celebrate with FPF in 2013, but when I get to take pictures of Mr Adorkable in person, you betchya I’ll try and wrangle some FPF time from dootsiez.

This year dootsiez and I braved the humid Brisbane heat and saw Wogie, up close and personal (and by up close I mean 2nd row from court biatches) in Pat Rafter Arena. With my new camera and lens in tow, I braved the bicep killing weight of my kit (dootsiez can testify how heavy it is) and made sure I brought you some of my best work so far.

I guess think of this as a pre-Australian Open celebratory FPF… a chance to celebrate… Read More…


Tales from Brisbane

Happy new year bitches. Long time no blog.

As some of you might be aware, I kicked off 2014 by heading to Brisbane to bask in the sweaty glow of Turderer, and the final loss aside, it was a glorious week. One that had me itching to log onto wordpress and start tapping away again. And ain’t that one of the most liberating feelings in the world.

1. Sensational sports headlines went up all over Australia today: Ashes Whitewash! Hewitt beats baffled Federer! Let’s party like it’s a new millenium!

Theoretically speaking, there is of course no shame in losing to Lleyton. Even as a tour veteran with a bionic foot, Hewitt remains a smart, strategic and persistent player, and more crucially yesterday – not one to falter on key points. In his three set victory over McFudd, Lleyton played some of the most inspired tennis we’ve seen from him in years, and his victory speech showed just how much a title in Australia meant to him at this stage in his career, a poignant moment for fans on both sides of the fence.

Read More…

Week 1 Wrap Up – Part 1: Ready? Setty? Go!


Congratulations to the ATP on this fabulous concept, let the race begin!


I’m starting my weekly wrap-up early this week, mainly because I’ve watched a lot of tennis over the last few days. With so much tennis played over different time zones from Qatar to New Zealand this week, according to my calculations, on Tuesday, Planet Earth clocked about 21 hours of non-stop tennis. Personally, the TV in my room’s being left on for about 6-10 hours a day while I’m on holidays, eating watermelons and watching tennis. Forget about easing your way into a new year – let’s start it with a bang. 


So what’s Week 1 of 2009 tennis bringing to the table? 


For starters – 3 dominant themes of this week (hopefully not of 2009 as a whole)

1. France, France, France – Viva la France!

A commentator (Fred Stolle I think) pointed out this week that France has almost 30 men and women inside their respective Top 100s this year, the most out of any country in the world. But if you were watching tennis week, it probably felt like more than that. At the Brisbane International, out of the 16 men’s and women’s quarterfinalists, 6 of them were from France alone. Over in Perth, Alize Cornet and Gilles Simon are treated like rock stars as the No 3 seeds at the Hopman Cup. And in Qatar, Monfils makes headlines as he upsets Nadal, while Santoro makes them for just hanging around to win a game. Needless to say, the French must be doing something right with their juniors, because it’s the Golden Age of French Tennis, folks. America and Australia, take note. 


2. The Welcome Back Party

The great thing about Week 1 is that no matter what happened in 2008, 2009 is at least full of optimism and hope. That hope, of course, can be quickly dashed as voices of doubt arise and things quickly settle (or unsettle), but for at least a few brief days, 2009 lives up to its promise of being better than the one before. 


Another great thing about this week is that all the players who went out early last year because of injuries, mental implosions or just sheer tennis irrelevance are back in action. Want names? Rusty, Casey D, Gasquet, Safin, Safarova (remember her?), Baghdatis, Hrbaty, Jelena Dokic, oh, and did I mention – Rafael Nadal? With the exception of Rafa, I have just one question for the rest of those I mentioned – are you back? or are you back


3. And the top seeds go tumbling out….

Remember the good old days when the top seeds stuck around for the semifinals and the final? But not this week. Rust, injuries, bad form, new racquets, problems adjusting back to life on tour were all cited as causes of their subpar performance, but really, I don’t hear their conquerors complainin’. It’s not like the top seeds were the only ones who went for an 8 week break. The highest seeds still left in the draws on this beautiful Saturday morning – Hot Sauce (Verdasco), No 3 seed at the Brisbane International, Marin Cilic, No 3 in Chennai, Murray and Roddick, respectively No 3 and 4 in Doha.

A few honourable exceptions – Victoria Azarenka (Baby Sharapova) , and Elena D, no 2 in Brisbane and no 1 in Auckland respectively – did hold up under pressure and make it all the way to the finals.  More on the top seeds later, but it was a disappointing effort from the group of them. Go hang your heads in shame.


The Hot-or-Nots of this week


Hot: the Hopman Cup 

I have a confession to make: I’m in love with the Hopman Cup.

A little OTT perhaps, but I’ve always thought of the Hopman Cup as a bit of a useless tournament. The only reason I started following it this week was because of the extended tennis drought in the offseason. But in time, I grew to love this unique tournament and everything about it – the format, the mixed doubles (where else can you find almost 10,000 people watching a mixed doubles match?), the way it brings out some of the less noted players and give them a chance to play in front of a big crowd. I love the Hopman Cup ball, the off court goss; I love its underdogs (read: Slovakia, Chinese Taipei); Lucy Hopman, the widow of Harry Hopman, who flew from the US to London, London to Singapore and Singapore to Perth just to come to the tournament, I even that little old lady who apparently turns up to tennis each year with her knitting needles. Oh, and did I mention those gorgeous diamond encrusted trophies? There’s such an amazing atmosphere at the tournament and I can’t believe I only gave it a chance this year. I’ve never been to Perth, but I might just go for a holiday there towards the end of 2009 and catch a bit of action after all the sightseeing. 


A little disappointed that Russia did not get its fairy tale ending, but who would’ve thought Slovakia would be such a great competitor. They thoroughly deserved their win.


Not Hot: the US of A joins the top seed hit list

Seriously, sif getting cleansweeped by Slovakia first tie. Just goes to show the strength of American tennis without the Sisters. As for James Blake, he did look like he was getting back into the rhythm of things by the end of the week. Do I think he’ll be able to defend his quarterfinal at the Australian? Yeahhhummmmmn…no. 


Hot: Don’t knock on the Dok

Uhuh, Jelena Dokic, she’s back… kinda, okay, not quite. 

Those who watched her match against Mauresmo this week probably thought she deserved to win that day. The familiar pattern of the match was that Jelena dominated most of the baseline rallies, at times even overpowering Mauresmo. But the problem was that Dokic was still the same neurotic player that she was back in her teens. As soon as she got into a lead, she started double faulting, going for too much, and making a ton of unforced errors to give back the break. Whether that’s matter of match fitness or mental fitness remains to be seen. 

Going back to my previous question? Is she back or is she back? Let’s just say that I do expect her to pull an upset sometime this year, but beyond that is really up to her. 


Not Hot: “Aussie” Ana Mania

On with the top seed casualties…

Branding Ana Ivanovic as “not hot” is always a little strange, especially after we’ve been inundated with her Rolex ads, magazine covers and Anando paparazzi photos this summer (winter if you’re reading in the Northern Hemisphere). It might be a little hypocritical of me to criticise Ana here, after all, I’ve always defended Sharapova when it came to similar criticisms, but Sharapova’s always competed at the highest level, hardly ever exiting before the semifinals of a tournament when she’s healthy. Ivanovic on the other hand, has made one semifinal after her Roland Garros win last year. She’s still ranked No 5, but if she doesn’t pull herself together right about now, she’s going to drop even further down the rankings. 

Oh, and seriously get over it! She’s not Australian. 


Hot (or maybe just lukewarm): the Importance gets a win

I hesitate to put Ernie Gulbis in here. Sure he got his first big win over the Big … Four, and careeerwise, it’s gotta give him a lot of confidence, but like he said so accurately himself, he’s had a lot more “beautiful losses”. So while this was his biggest win to date, it was by no means his best tennis. Still, a win’s a win, and this was probably the biggest story of the week, and that’s hot. 

The strange thing about Gulbis is that while he’s relatively unknown outside the Tennis World, he’s practically achieved boyband lead singer status within. I guess having a baby face helps. He’s due to play Auckland next week, after pulling out of Kooyong (boohoo Ernie).




“It’s not the end of the world, it’s the first match, so I’m still trying not to be very pessimistic.” Sure Djoker, but you’re not trying very hard.  


Not Hot: rust, dangerous opponent, new racquets, jetlag…not my problem

Above are the reasons Novak Djokovic cited for his loss – it couldn’t possibly be because he just sucked.  Okay, let me rephrase – I’m aware that I can be a little harsh on the Djoker – it couldn’t possibly be because Novak Djokovic did not look like he wanted to win the match that day, nor did he look like he was ever prepared to fight for it. In short, Djokovic behaved like he didn’t give a damn. Disappointing to say the least. Many players who are lower ranked, more injured or physically tired this week put in epic efforts to try and win their matches (Julie Coin for example).

My adversity towards Djokovic isn’t due to all his talks, his impersonations or even his family, it’s because of his tendency to just give up when things aren’t going his way. Monte Carlo last year was an example, US Open was another. Perhaps he’s feeling the pressure of having the most points out of the top 3 to defend up to the clay season this year, who knows? I certainly hope he starts to look like he cared sometime soon. 


Hot: Rusty back in action

Yup yup, he won 2 out of 3 singles matches at the Hopman Cup, in the third match which he lost to Blake, there seemed to be some sort of ear problem affecting his balance, which reminded me eerily of Alicia Molik. But overall, I think it was a great week for Rusty considering he’s been out of action since August last year. 

There was a time when I used to hate Lleyton Hewitt for all his antics, but I must say, the guy’s really mellowed out with the whole “family man” thing, and there’s something endearing about a player who’s completely focused on really making the last leg of his career count. 




Not Hot: Nadal in sleeves

See Nike? Give Rafa back his sleeveless shirts and piratas, he’s no longer scaring people! 

Frankly, even though Nadal lost to Monfils, there was very little to it. Not that Monfils didn’t play brilliantly, but to put it in perspective, Rafa hasn’t played since Paris (Abu Dhabi not withstanding), his first two rounds were both easy beatdowns, which I think actually hurt him. Those first two matches didn’t take him out of his comfort zone, nor did they help build up his match fitness, so when he came up against Monfils, he was ill prepared for the level of play that Monfils brought with him that day.

On a different note – Federer and Nadal entered 5 tournaments together from Monte Carlo to Wimbledon last year, and played each other 4 times in the finals, but since Wimbledon, they’ve entered 8 tournaments (the exho included) together, and haven’t played each other once. It’s almost painful.



Not Scary

Not scary in sleeves, and yes, that is a cat on a tennis court



Hot: the MaraNara

Marat and Dinara are just gorgeous together. As I said, it’s a pity they couldn’t win. Safin actually looked like he was in relatively good form until I commented on his two straight-set wins. From then on, he lost two matches in a row, relatively close both times, but that’s Safin for ya. 

In any case, I don’t know where I got the idea that Safin and Safina didn’t get along, they looked great together at the Hopman. Dinara clearly adores her older brother, and she’s growing on me, that girl. 


Australia Tennis Hopman Cup


Not Hot: Roger Federer who?

Go away.

I don’t want to talk about you. Mr Let-me-win-the-first-set-Mandy-then-you-can-have-the-rest. You played like crap. 

Feel my contempt. 

(the only thing more worthy of my contempt is the reaction of some of the fans, it’s either utter denial or doomsday prophesies, feel my contempt there too.)



Hot: Flavia la Flabulous

I thought Flavia Pennetta really shone this week in the mixed doubles at Hopman, the girl took on Safin during the mixed tie against Russia and won the majority of points with a wry smile. Take that Marat!


Not Hot: Jo-Willy Tsonga

Tsonga’s fast becoming my second favourite player after that Imploder who lost to Murray for the fifth time overnight, but his form this week was just not hot. He should’ve had easy wins against Calleri and Nieminen, but he didn’t. And last night, he lost to an ex-fave of mine, a guy who I’m secretly observing but openly ignoring this year (can you blame me? I lost too much hair over him last year). And in case anyone cared, his conqueror is still in the draws, so I’m refraining from commenting. Fingers crossed I didn’t just jinx him.

But back to Tsonga, he’s due to play Sydney next week with the Djoker. Are they both wilting a little bit under the pressure of last year’s success? To quote Rafa,  “we gonna see.” 



I still love the hair and the smile though.

I love the new hair though.



Other hots or nots of the week

  • Hot: Lisicki’s fiest
  • Not: Davyenko’s injury
  • Hot: Nishikori’s second big win
  • Not: Kiefer’s freak accident 
  • Hot: Alize Cornet, period. 
  • Not: Gilles Simon’s hair, but he’s dealt with that already.
  • Hot: Hrbaty changing retirement plans, says he’s prepared to play til 2012, oh, and run a few marathons along the way
  • Not: uncertainty over Masha. 😦  


Part Two coming re the guys and gals still left in the draws. On with my rant!