Tag Archive | Gustavo Kuerten

Party like it’s 2016!

Best Olympics news in a long long time: Rio de Janeiro has won the bid to host the Games in 2016.

Let it be known that tennis players played their part. 

 

 

Hi Guga! We miss you. 

 

 

Dude’s excited: 

 

“It is amazing,” said Kuerten.  “Some years ago this chance seemed so far [away], but I believed that Brazil was getting prepared to face this new opportunity.
“I think that we [have] got everything quite will organized, and as a consequence we will have the chance to develop all kinds of sports in our country.”
Source: ATP

 

Unfortunately for Madrid, the combined vocal support of Rafa and a virtual deathbed plea from Juan Antonio Samaranch weren’t enough to give the city the edge, as it lost its second successive Olympics bid. 

 

“There’s no need to be demoralised, we were very close,” said Rafa.

 

Well … no you weren’t. Rio won by a landslide 66 votes to Madrid’s 32. 

As for Chicago and Tokyo: you tried, but realy, you had no chance to start with. 

Congratulations to the people of Rio. Anyone up for a Samba? 

 

2008 Year-End Wrap Up: ATP Pt 2, the Players

Some final thoughts on the players this year, by players, I mean players other than Roger Federer, who, as the header of this blog, deserves his own damn post.  😀

 

Player of the Year

Who else but Rafael Nadal. To say that Rafa has been the most dominant player this year is to state the obvious – the dude did end up as the World No 1. But it’s a different kind of dominance than the one I’m used to seeing in the past 3 years. Nadal spent a period of 8 months between Stuttgart 2007 and Monte Carlo 2008 without winning a single title, by the time Hamburg rolled around, Rafa was one match away from losing his No 2 spot to Novak Djokovic. In this sense, with the benefit of hindsight, Hamburg 2008 seems like a real turning point for Nadal. The fact that he weathered the storm and came through two very tight 3-setters (Djokovic in the SF, and Federer in the final) must’ve given him an enormous boost. Two more matches defined the rest of Nadal’s season – one was Queens and the other was of course the Wimbledon final. Sure enough, Rafa was seeded No 1 at Queens, but how many people had him as the favourite to win? After Queens, it was almost unanimous among tennis clairvoyants that Rafael Nadal was going to walk away with the Wimbledon trophy this year, and no matter how close Federer came to proving them wrong, ultimately, they were dead right, and it was precisely this sense of inevitability that made the 5 setter at Wimbledon so heartbreaking for Federer fans. I’m not one to believe in fate, but I came damn close during that match.

One last voice of doubt regarding Nadal though, since his win in Beijing, Nadal has gone titleless for the rest of the year, brought down by physical injuries and the sheer exhaustion of this long season. Has/Can Nadal’s body ever sustain him through an entire season? And how does this bode strategically for those who want the top spot? 

 

Novak Djokovic 

Twice this year, he came close to becoming the World No 2. Twice he fell short. Doesn’t take a genius to work out that I’m not the biggest fan of the Djoker. Every time I came close to warming up to him, he and his family would say or do something outrageously comical to repel me again. Examples? “the-king-is-dead-long-live-the-king” incident, the sore-throat/dizziness retirement in Monte Carlo, and of course, the infamous Roddickgate at the US Open…

For sure, Djokovic started the year looking very much like the next in line. Australian Open, Indian Wells, a few semifinal showings- I don’t need to go through the 2008 chronology.

But then something inexplicable happened – I watched him surrender meekly against Safin at Wimbledon, and something in his demeanour that day kept coming back for the rest of the year – an expression that spelt “I couldn’t care less”, “you happy now?” appeared time and time again – against Murray in Toronto, against Tsonga second set in Thailand, third set in Paris and at the Masters Cup. And of course, in the semifinal against Federer at the US Open, Djokovic never looked like he had an ounce of belief that he could win. Even in the eyes of a non-fan, the Djoker just looked like a guy who needed a hug by the end of that fourth set. 

Perhaps for this reason, I’ve really refrained from talking about the Djoker recently, except for a little dig at his ill-advised drop shots. I remember all the negativity surrounding Federer during the year, and well… you just don’t trash talk a player when he’s seemingly in a ditch. After his Masters Cup win, I feel much more free to ponder over Djokovic’s stagnation after Rome this year. At the end of the day, the conclusion I came to was that he’s probably just an overly sensitive guy who desperately wants to be respected, but chooses the wrong way to earn that respect. Either way, for me at least, what separates Novak Djokovic from Nadal and Federer right now is more his mentality than his quality of tennis. I’m not sure where the Djokovic’s get their victim-complex from, and certainly some players work well with a “Me vs the World”  mentality (Hewitt, for example), I’m just not sure Djokovic is that kinda guy judging from his performance in the latter half of this year.

Question: I was making highlights for the 99 Roland Garros final between Hingis and Graf, and it occurred to me – is Novak Djokovic a Martina Hingis? Not in terms of style (although I can see similarities) but in terms of personality and PR…

 

Andy Murray

A friend of my reckons Andy Murray is “kinda cute”. She might even have a thing or two for his hairless chest and tic-tac teeth. Can I say I’m horrified?

Okay but seriously now, Andy Murray seemed relatively irrelevant at the start of this year. I remember marveling earlier on this year that just over 12 months ago, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray were at the same level, and since then, Djokovic has made the finals at the US Open and won himself a slam down under, while Andy Murray – where the hell was Andy Murray?

Just as well I kept those thoughts to myself, because not long after, Andy Murray began his rise to the top of the game. The real turning point for him, as I’ve mentioned, came during that match against Gasquet at Wimbledon. Since then, Murray seems to have acquired a new sense of maturity and clear thinking. No need for me to go through his match history since the US Open final. Not a fan of the person (he published an autobiography BEFORE his first Masters Series title? Without a decent grand slam showing? C’mon!), but I am a fan of his game. Dude’s going to be World No 1 someday, without a doubt. Barring a return of his former brain cramps or injuries, he’s due for a grand slam title, very soon. 

One last comment regarding Andy Murray – dude, DROP THE FRED PERRY LINE. You’ve gone down in history as the player who turned up to play McFederer in the US Open final dressed in a potato sack. Fugly with a capital F.

 

If I were an investor, and tennis players were stocks, I’d be looking to buy next year – 

  • Ernests Gulbis: I actually thought he’d make more of a mark this year, but in quite a few matches, he came short of pulling an upset. Doesn’t matter. I expect this guy to draw blood next year, now that I’m on the bandwagon. 
  • Marin Cilic: Love. Love. Love. The boy knows how to hit a two-handed backhand. Good first serve and forehand as well. There’s a lot he needs to work on. But the salient features are there. He’s going to be a great player one day.
  • Kei Nishikori: he’s been on my rankings watch all year. Something tells me he’s going to become the highest ever ranked player from Asia very, very soon. I’m interested to see how he’ll deal with the pressure from back home in Japan though. 
  • Lleyton Hewitt: if you sold him, now is the perfect time to buy. He’ll never be a contender grand slam-wise again, but the man’s still got more titles in him once he recovers from his hip surgery. Plus Aussie tennis’s hit rock bottom, and it needs a little bit more support from me. CAAHH’MAWWWNNN.
  • Undecided – Troicki. Yay or nay? 

Stocks I’ll be keeping

  • Juan Martin del Potro: it’s been his break through year, but he’s yet to claim top 3 blood. That’s going to change in 2009. But at the end of the day, as much as I like what I see, I do find him a little one dimensional. If we could combine the mentality and heart of del Potro with the talent of Marat Safin or Richard Gasquet, we could have another Federer.
  • After a year like this one, it’s a surprise that I’m still keeping Richard Gasquet. My commerce student friends would be screaming “SELL SELL SELL YOU ARTS/LAW/COMMIE HOE!” at me. Gasquet is going to make me broke (and bald) one day. But I just can’t bring myself to sell a stock that seems like it’s got so much potential. 
  • Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: I have my fears about his fitness, and his high risk tennis isn’t the kind of thing you should get attached to if you are unsure about your heart condition and blood pressure. But I just love the flair, the raw power combined with surprising finesse, the outrageous things he does on a tennis court…. wins over 3 out of the top 4 this year. Rock on Tsonga!

Stocks I’m selling

  • Gael Monfils: I know he made semi at Roland Garros, and I do love watching Monfils play. Not to mention he’s got one of the most adorable personalities on tour. But I don’t think he’ll ever be a contender. And he hasn’t got the sort of spell over me that Gasquet has. So here’s a stock I can afford to sell. 
  • James Blake: again, another player who I dearly love. But Blake ended this year titleless, losing to a lot of players who he probably shouldn’t have lost to. I’d love to be proven wrong, but it seems like the Masters Cup run he had in 2006 might end up being the highlight of his career. =(
  • Andy Roddick: I miss Roddick v Federer matches. We didn’t get another one after Miami. It’s a shame to sell just when Andy’s growing on me after all these years, but gee Roddick’s had a miserable year. He started the year with a little outburst at the Australian, and ended with a withdrawal from the Masters Cup.  
  • David Nalbandian: he doesn’t believe in himself, so why should I believe him. It’s a shame because no one needs to be told of the obvious fact that Nalbandian is brimming with talent. I used to have a thing for imploders. These days, Gasquet is more than I can handle. Nalbandian must go. Sorry Bandy =(
  • Nikolay Davydenko: I’ve promised myself to watch him more in the future, after discovering how underrated and entertaining his game is during the Masters Cup (hey, I’ve watched the guy lose 12 times to Roger Federer, so it’s not my fault that has never hit me before). But once you realise he’s defending Miami next year, you would be selling too. Good chance that Davo will make it to the London WTF next year, but not a good chance that he’ll end up in the top 5 six years in a row.   

 

And fare thee well to Santoro, Bjorkman and Guga. You’ll all be dearly missed. Marat Safin – look on the bright side, you made semifinal at Wimbledon this year. I’m not ready to say farewell to you yet so come back for 2009 please! 

 

One more post on McFederer and that’s probably enough tennis writing from me for 2008. What am I going to write about during the off season? My day? But writing about your own day is like going through your own vomit to see what you had for breakfast. No. That ain’t happenin’.