This entire Davis Tie has been a genius chess move by Pat Rafter (or whomever else orchestrated it) and here’s why:
1. They picked the best surface possible. They picked an ordinary grass court. Marginally better than your local club. It was adequate but it’s not up to tournament level (Halle/Queens). Now grass is the hardest surface to shift to. Your lower body, especially the quads and hammys take a lot of strain, reaching the low balls and making sure you stay upright on dinky grass. For Roger coming from a deep showing at the US Open meant extra strain and soreness. For Stan with a leg/foot injury, it wasn’t ideal either.
I don’t know if international peeps understand but the court is literally built on the centre court of a row of grass courts at a prestigious golf club here in Sydney. They then build stands to seat 3700 people on the 2 sides. It like attending a big community tennis tournament.
2. They picked the best team possible: Hewitt, wimby champ, Tomic wimby quarter finalist, Guccione big server, tall huge wingspan, great at the net. And yes Rog has 6 Wimbys but Stan has never made it past the 4th round. Grass is arguably his worst surface by FAR,
3. They picked the best tactics. Putting Tomic up against Wawrinka, knowing that he had a better chance winning than against Fed. Teaming Guccione with Hewitt for the doubles, which meant resting Tomic for the reverse singles.
4. They were the best prepared,
“Gooch’ and I were up for it – we’ve been preparing for this for the last couple of weeks.” – Hewitt
In all honesty today’s rubber was brought to you by Chris Guccione, Tennis Journeyman, who was damn clutch today. After an easy giveaway break in the first game, Guccione was impenetrable and even though the Swissies lost, they really couldn’t really have done much against Guccione’s serve even if playing their best. But it’s sad to hear that the achilles injury he suffered sometime during the 3rd set may cost him his career. That’s tennis I gather, heartache and happiness in one sport.
As for the Swissies, Fed left his heart on the court, he didn’t play well but he was trying. Stan, not so much. After much discussion with fellow Federites today we’ve concluded that Stan is perhaps just a bad Davis Cup Player. There’s a sort of mentality a player needs to succeed in Davis Cup, some have it without as much singles success (Nalbandian, Hewitt) and some just can’t seem to rise to the challenge like Wawrinka.
Yes he was injured, but the entire tie you could feel this air of “Get me the fuck outta here” from Stan. Yes his leg was hurting and he hated the grass, hated the court, but could he have dug deeper? is the question.
anyhow, after a tough 4th break tiebreak, Australia came through 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (7-5).
Final day reverse singles looks grim for a clearly gimped and hobbling Swiss team. Tomic having been well rested on the 2nd day looks good to cause an upset against old man Rog. And Wawrinka is waiting on order from the docs to see if he plays the final tie. Switzerland may need a miracle to get through but I’ll be there along with the others cheering them on.
Even if it is Marco Chiudinelli in the end…
Rest of Today’s Photos by Moi, Here
It was YOU Fernando Verdasco!
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I want the faux hawk back. That birds nest sitting on top of Nando’s head is killing me.
Fernando Verdasco is at the stage in his career where he’s probably thinking to himself – “I’ve made it. I’ve broken through, now what?”
He could cement his place in the top 10, show the world that he’s here to stay, or he could fumble his way back down the ladder a la Blake or Ferrer.
Right now, he looks more likely to take the latter path than the former. The guy has an 8-7 win/loss record since the French Open (27-9 prior), and in most of those losses – (Wimbledon, Montreal and Cincinnati) he hasn’t played badly. He’s just brainfarted spectacularly during crucial tiebreaks.
Losing tiebreaks against Karlovic (Wimbledon) or Roddick (Montreal) is mostly excusable, but losing to Garcia-Lopez 7-6 (4) 7-6 (4)?
Certainly doesn’t do wonders for his confidence heading to the Open.
Be it the birds nest, or the visor, or the brainfarts, Fernando Verdasco is officially depressing me.
Also depressing – here I was, breathing a sigh of relief as Marin Cilic finally won a half-believable match against JCF, the kid promptly went on to lose next round to Ferrer. What’s wrong Marin?
Actually, what’s wrong Daveed? Why do he look like he hasn’t slept for a month? Do something about those panda eyes!
In other matches, ’twas a day for the “oi oi oi’s” as Lleyton, Guccione, and Slammin’ Sammy all scored wins against worthy opponents.
Compared to his loss against Ferrero last week in Montreal, Hewitt was much sharper against Soderling, downing the Sod in a highly competitive 3-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-4 victory.
Hewitt and the Yoker were still in the process of recovery from recent injuries, and the rust from Sod clearly showed, as he committed 50 unforced errors. Lleyton, on the other hand, claims everything is going well.
“My body felt a lot better. That was the difference. Yeah, gave me a lot of confidence to be able to actually go out there and compete. Last week in Montreal I couldn’t compete, which is frustrating.”
I wish I could like him, Hewitt, but even Bec is more amusing.
For the other “oi oi’s”, Chris Guccione took out Kohlshcreiber 7-5 2-6 6-3, denying us of potential tennis porn between Jo-Willy and Kohly.
I have 3 words to describe the Gooch: boring as fuck.
Oh wait, and two more: cross-eyed.
Photo by Mark Lyons/Getty Images
Now don’t you dare take out Jo-Willy, Gooch. I’ll have you extradited to New Zealand.
And a final hurrah for Sam Stosur, who’s playing such consistently good tennis against anyone but her finals opponents. With her 6-4 6-3 win over Sveta in just over an hour, Stosur has officially clinched top 16 seeding at the US Open, which means she won’t have to play any of the top seeds until fourth round.
It would do wonders for the atmosphere at the Australia Open next year if Sammy could somehow break through to the top 10 by the end of the year. C’mon girl, you’re so close.
Stosur faces Pennetta next round – who’s up for revenge?
So I haven’t posted for a while, but with the Australian tennis season coming up, and the Aus Open right around the corner, I thought I might update on how a few Aussies are doing these days.
Being Australian, I am quite aware that the tennis talent in this country has dripped to a stop. Off the top of my head, the last time an Australian made the final of a grand slam was Hewitt at the 2005 Australian Open, and the fact that Rusty’s still our best hope when it comes to the sport of tennis just goes to show the depth (or lack thereof) of Aussie tennis these days. Is there one last drip in that tap of ours?
Well the realistic answer is probably “no”. At least for the next two or three years, until and if we get our next prodigy, I don’t see Australia making an impact in Tennis Nation. But that’s not to say that all is lost, there’s a whole bunch of veterans making comebacks in 2009.
For starters, Hewitt, falling to No 67 in the world, is rejoining the tour and hoping that he’ll get back into the top 10 again. I’m not sure that he’ll ever be a contender for a grand slam again – it’s certainly hard with the top 4 at the moment. But I think his goal of top 10 is realistic and quite achievable with a combination of hard work and good physical conditioning. I agree with John Newcombe that he’s a legit Top Tenner when healthy, and may he stay healthy in these last few years of his career.
Another veteran making (yet another!) comeback is Mark Philippoussis. I don’t want to sound discouraging, but shouldn’t Philippoussis be planning out his reality TV career as opposed to trying to rejoin the tour, aged 32-years-young? But it seems that Scud wants to have another go, and he’s planning to use the senior tour to get himself back into shape, so he could play the Australian Open in 2010. Right, good luck to him on that.
Is Jelena Dokic considered Australian? That’s always confused me. I’ve actually completely forgotten about Dokic (it hasn’t been hard), but it seems that with minimum publicity this year, she started out with no ranking and has been slowly working her way back up by playing a bunch of 25K events. With 35 wins and 3 titles, she’s ended 2008 ranked 179 in the world. Recently she won the final of the Australian Open wild card play off, and will be playing two warm up tournaments before the Australian Open, one being Brisbane International. Regardless of the success of her comeback, I do admire the perseverance and the hard work, especially after all the hardships she had to go through with her father.
As for the rest of the Aussies, Sam Stosur and Chris Guccione are both hanging around, but Stosur’s more of a doubles player these days. Casey Dellacqua had a superb start to 2008, but since then she’s faded a little. Hopefully, she’ll solidify her position in the top 30 in 2009. And as for the youngsters, 18 year old Jessica Moore is closing in on the top 100, I haven’t watched her play much, so I can’t tell how far she’ll go. But she did have some success as a junior, so we’ll see.
While these Aussies continue their struggles in the tennis world, I think I’ll adopt Switzerland as my second country. 😉
Happy new year to you all!