Doots: Alright bitches. Let’s get down to business. First thoughts on Wombly draw?
PJ: Looks good for the Old Man, looks good for Rafa, whatever for Djokovic and LOLOLOLOL for Muzzface.
LJ: I’m overwhelmed by the amount of WTFckery 1st round matchups we have.
Kohli vs Haas: WHYYYYY? Both would have made good runs to 4th round. Read More…
When I was a li’le girl in school, there were many classes I hated, either because of the subject itself, or because the teacher in charge of it hails from the lower spectrum of mankind. And the more I hated them, the more I complained to my mother about them, the worse I did in those classes. I couldn’t wait until the day I got old enough to drop them and study only the things I like.
Which brings us, of course, to the flamingly obvious: Djokovic and Nadal did not fall to the Rise of the Minions merely because they could not adjust to the new surface, they fell because they would not adjust to it.
Woah woah woah woah woah. Hang on hang on – I may be onto something here. Follow this irrefutable logic.
Fact #1: Roger Federer won Cincinnati wearing pink.
Fact #2: Michael Llodra won very little.
Fact #3: Federer gave his sweat-stained pink shirt to Llodra in Cincinnati. It smelt like win.
Fact #4: In his next match, Michael Llodra took out No 7 seed Tomas Berdych first round at the US Open in straight sets.
Coincident? I DON’T FINK SO. The only logical conclusion that follows the simple sum of 1 + 2 + 3+ 4: Roger Federer may not sweat a lot, but when he does?
HE SWEATS PURE FUCKING CONTAGIOUS EXCELLENCE.
“I don’t know whether I played well or not.” – Bye-bye Berdy.
If my logical sequence was beyond your comprehension, here it is again in pictorial terrms: 1 + 2 = 3
1. FULL OF WIN.
2. TRANSFER OF WIN
3. WIN WIN.
In other matches, dramarama over in New York on an apparently sweltering day, which saw Victoria Azarenka rather spectacularly in the heat while down 1-5 to her French Open conqueror Gisela Dulko. I’ll leave you to watch the event unfold yourself, shall I?
In a statement after the match, Vika claimed that she suffered concussion when she tumbled while warming up in the gym pre-match.
‘‘I fell forward and hit my arm and head.
I was checked by the medical team before I went on court and they were courtside for monitoring.
I felt worse as the match went on, having a headache and feeling dizzy. I also started having trouble seeing and felt weak before I fell.
I was taken to the hospital for some medical tests and have been diagnosed with a mild concussion.’’
Get well soon.
With the last of the men’s first round matches being held today, Toothface blasted 37 winners as he sailed past Lets’-Go, 6-3 6-2 6-2. Despite the fact that Murray is attempting to become the first Brit to win a slam in 150 thousand years, all that the media wanted to know about was: “did you see it did you see it did you see it?!”
Q. Did you have a chance to see Roger’s shot between his legs the other night for a winner?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah.
Q. What were your thoughts about that and how he’s able to come up with these shots?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I saw it. I thought the one against Djokovic last year was better. But, no, they’re difficult shots. They’re very difficult shots to time. And if you time them well, it’s very difficult for the opponent to reach them if you get, you know, reasonable direction, because you don’t see it very often. So to judge your split step, like if you see Dabul the other night when he hit it, he hit a really clean, great shot. But Dabul was charging the other direction. He had no idea when Roger was going to make contact with the ball. So it is very difficult if someone hits a clean one to get your movement right.
Q. Why do you think the one against Djokovic was better?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, because Novak was at the net. It was a bit harder. Dabul was out of position when he hit the lob. They were both great shots.
Q. Is that something that you work on at all?
ANDY MURRAY: Um, I occasionally hit it. If it happens in practice you just always try you know, if you’re in a situation in a match, you always try and get back and put up a lob, you know, if you can.So you don’t hit them that much. No, I practice them sometimes messing around in practice a little bit.
Q. How do you do?
ANDY MURRAY: Ah, yeah, not bad. Not bad.
Q. Novak said he’d be more concerned about damaging himself with a racquet. You wouldn’t worry, too?
ANDY MURRAY: You’ve got to be careful, yeah. (Laughter.) I have never had any problems when I tried it.
Unlike Murray, Venus Williams was made to work a little by a unknown Canuck Rebecca Marino, eventually closing out the match 7-6 (7-3) 6-3. What did Marino do particularly well? How did Venus handle the heat? All these questions were relegated to the back burner in the face of a far more pressing query: DID YOU SEE IT DID YOU SEE IT DID YOU SEE IT?!
Q. Did you have a chance to see Roger Federer’s shot between his legs the other night?
VENUS WILLIAMS: No, I haven’t. But I heard he hits one every year, so…
Q. Is that something you’ve tried?
VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, my dad would teach us that shot, but Serena and I weren’t really keen on learning it. So I think it’s something you kind of want to learn as a kid, and you keep trying it and trying it.We’d do it a little bit, and he could do it, but I guess we didn’t see the value. I guess there is value in it now.
Don’t mind me, I’m just perfecting my subtle way of not talking about Roger Federer while talking about him all the time.
To completely non-Fed related news, in the upset of the day, Janko Tipsy took out Andy Roddick in four sets, 3-6 7-5 6-3 7-6.
One word: outplayed.
What are you going to do when your opponent’s shitting out 16 winners and 3 unforced errors in a set while you could do more than 6 and 6? Tipsarevic “played big”, to use his own words. Despite losing the first set, he stayed aggressive and kept focus despite Roddick’s third set tantrum over – deja vu! – a foot fault called by a lines woman.
“Not once in my career has my right foot gone in front of my left foot, never. That is unbelievable.
“Why don’t you get some umpires who know what they are doing? 1-800-rent-a-ref.”
Here’s the deal: there’s this Andy Roddick guy – unassuming, unpretentious, humorous. And despite having his career perennially cockblocked by a man from Switzerland, Randy continues to see the world through a healthy, balanced perspective and work tirelessly to win a second slam he so deserves.
So there’s that. And then …
There’s the occasional asshole who surfaces every once in a while. I don’t care what you do to fire yourself up, a line has to be drawn before a rant turns into a ridicule, because a rich iconic tennis player belittling a lineswoman like a bully is the last sight anyone wants to see. And just like the tweener, we’ve now seen it at the Open for the second year in a row, only unlike the tweener, we don’t want to, we don’t need to see it. Not at all.
As for Randy’s tennis, I demand that the tennis world cuts him some slack. After all, mono is serious business.
Just goes to show how much more emotionally invested in the ATP I am compared to the WTA. What a year it’s been, and I’ve decided to separate it into different posts. So here’s the first one, matches of the year. And a little disclaimer before I start – neutrality has no place on blogs, so feel free to disagree/agree with my terribly biased opinions.
Match of the Year
Do I need to spell this one out? Can anyone really pick another match other than this one? No, I’m seriously not going to mention it by name, if you can’t figure out which match I’m referring to, there’s something wrong with you. Not only did it have high quality tennis, Shakespearean rain delays/acts of divine intervention, and two players who both epitomise what the Wimbledon Champion should be like, but it was also a watershed moment in 2008. The man who won would go on to take over the World No 1 in a month’s time, but really, the moment he reached for the trophy at SW19, he already was the unofficial no 1.
That’s probably as much as I’m going to write about THE match, though I think it deserves many posts solely dedicated to it, I do feel that it’s been theorised enough already, and frankly, I’m still too traumatized by match to talk at length about it (I have the HD version of the match on my computer, and it’s ZIPPED with the password “cardigan”. Maybe one day in 10 years time, I’ll meet a stranger at a pub, or on public transport, and smilingly nod when he/she asks me if I remember this match, but for now, to quote Federer “it hurt”, and it still hurts).
But one last thing I will say about this match was something that came up when I was talking to a friend of mine (also a tennis fan) the other day – what would’ve happened in an alternative universe, if Federer had won the match? 1) it would have been the best come back in the history of tennis. 2) as Federer fans, we would’ve all been a happier bunch. 3) Federer probably could have held on to his no 1 spot instead of subjecting us to his existential crisis from after Wimbledon right through to the doubles gold in Beijing. But think about the other side for a moment – Rafael Nadal would have been the imploder who served for the match, double faulted, and lost in 5 sets. If you remember Nadal’s face after the 2007 final, you would not wish that on him. You would not wish that on anyone. So maybe it was only fitting that Federer be the warrior who “almost” came back from a 2 set deficit than Rafa the imploder who double faulted and lost perhaps his last/only (I hope not) chance to beat Federer on grass.
Non-“The Match That Shall Not be Mentioned” – Matches of the Year
Because The Match was so significant that it just overshadowed every other match, let’s take that aside for a second. The non-“Match” matches of the year (the ones I’ve watched anyway) are –
Best of Five
- Gasquet v Murray Wimbledon: what can you do about Richard Gasquet, on the one hand, I give Murray full credit for coming back from a 2 set deficit, but on the other, it is so Gasquet to lose the match after being up two sets and so close to victory. From another perspective, both Gasquet and Murray (until recently) were at the time, what I would call “the tortured artists”, exceptionally talented, but with the mental fortitude of a stick insect. But since that match, how their lives have diverged – Murray’s gone on to establish himself as a strong contender at major tournaments, and Gasquet ended his year miserably titleless, and injured. *sigh* Had it not been for THE match, this would’ve been match of the year for me.
- Federer v Tipsarevic Australian Open: Tipsarevic came out of nowhere to push Federer to the absolute extreme, and he did play some phenomenal tennis. Federer had some brain dead moments too during the match that probably cost him in the first 3 sets, but once Tipsarevic took that 2-1 lead, Federer clicked into that extra gear, and didn’t give Tipsy much of a chance in any more of his service games. And the game where he broke at 8 all in the fifth was just sheer brilliance, from both ends of the court. Yet (and maybe I’m only speaking from hindsight), there was this ominous feeling after this match, that perhaps, the 10 finals in a row streak was about to end, and that perhaps something else is wrong.
- Federer v Andreev US Open: I’ve still only watched half the match (downloaded to 90%), and from what I’ve seen so far, lots of unforced errors from Federer, but he wasn’t playing badly, Andreev was just playing the best tennis I’ve ever seen him play. I was scoreboarding the match during Constitutional Law, needless to say I didn’t hear a single thing about executive powers, all I heard was the buzzing in my ear from the general lack of oxygen. To add to the drama, I always thought New York was the last city to really warm to Federer, clearly I was wrong. Years of service from Federer was repaid with interest by New Yorkers at the US Open this year, and that was beautiful to see. Can we do the same down here in Melbourne for Australian Open 09? To be really sick and quote everyone’s favourite politician right now – “YES WE CAN!”
- Nishikori v Ferrer US Open: I’ve still not seen the entire match either, plan to download in its entirety during the off-season. Ferrer I’ve always liked for his speed and doggedness, there are those who possess incredible talent, but only make use of a fraction of it (Gasquet, Safin), and then there are those who you wonder how on earth they even made it into the top 10, let alone top 4 for Ferrer at some point this year. But that is because Ferrer made 110% of the talent he does have. As much as I love Nishikori, I did feel quite bad for Ferru after the match. And how about Nishikori, I think we finally have a promising young talent from Asia. All hail Special K!
- Haas v Gasquet US Open: REESHIE! *tears chunks of hair out* But this is another match between two “tortured artists” who really could’ve accomplished more in their careers with the talent they possess. I haven’t quite given up on Gasquet though, and I won’t until he gets to the age of 25 at least.
- Those that never made it to five sets: who says you have to make it to 5 sets for it to be a fabulous match? matches I loved this year include – Gulbis v Roddick US Open, Federer v Gonzalez Roland Garros, Federer v Monfils Roland Garros, Nadal v Murray US Open, Djokovic v Federer US Open, Murray v del Potro US Open
Best of Three
- Federer v Murray Masters Cup: it’s still fresh on everyone’s mind, so it suffices to say that I think it’s “the” best of 3 match of the year.
- Before the Federer-Murray match, I thought the best of 3 match of the year was Nadal v Simon Madrid, again – the sheer drama, the Spanish fans, the unfreakingbelievable shots Simon was pulling off that had me pointing at my computer screen screaming “GET OUTTA HEYAAAA!” I finished the match at 4am AEST, that’s how enraptured I was.
- Nadal v Djokovic Hamburg – it’s funny to think that Nadal is now safely in command of the No 1 spot when way back in May, he was one match away from dropping to no 3 (the position Federer, to my dismay, is in right now). Again, only watched bits of the match but it looked like high quality stuff, many thought it was the best match so far at that point in the year, until it was outdone by the match a day later.
- Federer v Nadal Hamburg – aka the match next day – Federer shouldn’t lost the first set, but he did. Nadal shouldn’t lost the second, but he did. Therein lies the drama of this match, plus this match conned me into a false sense of security that the Roland Garros final was going to be a competitive match, until Nadal showed up in Clay Monster mode and Federer showed up… well Federer never really showed up.
- Roddick DEF Federer Miami – Roddick’s had a pretty disappointing year even by his own standards. But he can walk away from this year thinking “hey, I WON ANOTHER MATCH AGAINST FEDERER”. That almost counts as a grand slam in Roddick’s books these days right? Given that it was not long after Dubai (where Roddick beat both Nadal and Djokovic), there was every reason at that point in the year to think that Roddick was going to be relevant again. Until he lost to Davydenko the next day that is. Don’t you miss the days when Andy Roddick was making grand slam semis and finals, coming up with some classic presscons and acceptance speeches along the way?
- Federer v Nalbandian Monte Carlo – both players played out of their mind, and Federer prevailed in 3 sets, but that was the sharpest Federer had looked since the Australian Open. In fact, it was positively TMF/JesusFed. I had my doubts coming into the match, I hit the panick button half way through, and I ended the match back to being the Zen Master that I really am. Kool-Aid Drinker? Me? Never!
- And that sinkin’ feelin’ continues…I don’t want to remind everyone but just think of what we had to live through this year – Fed the Dead v Simon Pt 1/Pt 2, Fed the Dead v Ginepri Cincinatti, Fed the Dead v Murray Dubai, Fed the Dead v Mardy-Fish-who-rhymes-with-Dish Indian Wells, Fed the Dead v Blake Beijing, Fed the inexplicable vs Stepanek the Worm in Rome, Fed the inexplicable vs Karlovic Cincinatti. The only thing I can say about that sinkin’ feelin’ is that old sayin’ – “what doesn’t kill ya makes ya strongaaaa”
- Non-Masters Matches deserving of a mention: Cilic v Fish New Haven (Marin wins his first title, and I hopped on the bandwagon); del Potro v Gasquet Stuttgaard (del Potro started on his four titles streak, I lose more of my hair over Richard Gasquet); Kei Nishikori v James Blake Delray Beach (Kei wins his first title at the expense of my second favourite forehand in the game)