Wimbledon Women’s Preview: A Conference of Anti-Experts.
With the men’s draw out of the way, PJ, LJ et moi got together for a chat about the ladies’ draw. Pictures from the pre-Wimbledon party.
Doots: Alrighty. Let’s get started. First thoughts on women’s draw? I feel like every year for the past few years, Wimbledon has always been about what the Willians Sisters will or won’t do, and this year, it’s been the least about them in a long while.
PJ: I have to admit I am in camp “wanting a Williams to win”. Especially Venus where Wimbledon is concerned.
Doots: I think it might be too much of a long shot for Venus.
PJ: Hey, I live in Delusion Land, no?
LJ: I think she’ll be dangerous in the early rounds, but I’m not too positive on current form.
Doots: What do we think about Kvitova? I thought she was royally screwed for Roland Garros given her form going into it, but she actually acquitted herself respectably.
LJ: Her game is just so funky, I don’t know what to think. I feel like she has the potential to really beat anyone, but … but …
Doots: Funky’s one way to describe her game: when she’s on, she is shotmaking genius, when she’s off, she is an unthinking idiot. Her game doesn’t leave much room for grey.
PJ: the Female Dolgopolov, but maybe a lot less crazy.
LJ: Yes, I definitely agree with the Female Dolgo characterization, but she managed to hold it together for a slam.
PJ: Speaking of danger in early rounds, Pironkova to meet Shrieky in the second round. Now that I have mixed thoughts about: [Pironkova is a] two-time semifinalist, [but] she has the equal potential to beat herself into submission. It’s like she does nothing for the whole season and is just waiting for WImbledon to attack or something.
LJ: I thought Shreiky had an okay draw until I realised she has both Pironkova AND Lisicki in the 4th round.
Doots: Well why don’t we get onto Shrieky’s draw then. She has the Aussie ARod for her first round; most likely – Pironkova second round.
Weekly Wrap: Back to Dystopia.
1. If you’re anything like me, this is what you’ve been doing since January 2011.
Miami Players Party: Y/N
Sometimes, a mighty, barf-inducing PICSPAM is the only appropriate thing to do. So indulge me, if you could, in a simple game of Yes/No, Yay/Nay, Oui/Non … UNF/URGH!
Well, they say a picture paints a thousand words, so I shall say no more. It’s Miami, it’s tennistical, and IT IS A FASHION-DISASTUHHHH.
Isn’t it refreshing when a teenager dresses like a teenager? Did Laura Robson get the memo?
Hello, I am Sweet Caroline and I just crawled out of a cabbage patch.
First and last time I’ll say this about Ferrer…
Just the clothes. I swear.
(Watermarked photos courtesy of Tennis Panorama)
Frazzle Post: Indian Wells
We have a blockbuster Saturday coming up in Woop Woop. Wafa faces off first match against a resurgent del Potro. Normally, I would not worry, but given Rafa’s performance in his last two matches, del Potro seems to be in with a chance to win.
In a dystopian world, my anticipation of a Fedal final would be completely derailed by both delPo and Satan.
BUT IT IS OKAY.
Unlike every other tournament, this time in Woop Woop, we get a second chance to reach Dootsie’s ovarian happiness. FEDRINKA plays Dolgopolove and Xman in some kinduva alternative dream doubles final.
Either way, the firelog routine – IT HAS TO HAPPEN. I WILL DIE OF A THOUSAND SQUISHY PENGUINS IF IT HAPPENS.
OOP – STADIUM 1 start 11:00 am
 R Nadal (ESP) vs J Del Potro (ARG) – ATP
 N Djokovic (SRB) vs  R Federer (SUI) – ATP
Not Before 3:00 PM
 B Mattek-Sands (USA) / M Shaughnessy (USA) vs S Mirza (IND) / E Vesnina (RUS) – WTA – DOUBLES FINAL
Not Before 4:00 PM
A Dolgopolov (UKR) / X Malisse (BEL) vs R Federer (SUI) / S Wawrinka (SUI) – ATP – DOUBLES FINAL
What They Wore: JJ
I thought ANTA had settled into a comfortable pattern with Jelena Jankovic: feminine, flowing designs; bright, vibrant colours. This was repeated over and over during the course of 2010, until Jaja suddenly walked out on court in Doha in a skimpy ninja-black dress that was the ultimate antithesis of the GlitterGal.
But more on that later. Here’s a look at what JJ had worn in 2010.
Indian Wells, Early Clay (Rome)
What ANTA does so well with JJ is that it captures her girliness, her vivacity better than her former sponsor Reebok. Between the shades of bright green, buttercup yellow and teal, no matter what she wore, JJ looked comfortable in her own skin, even if her tennis didn’t always look comfortably on court.
By the US Open, however, the succession of bright block colours was starting to bore me. Another tournament, another Lady Jaja walking out clad in a single, definitive colour, strappy dress, pleated skirt, maybe some tiers to “change things up” …
But it’s that same old feeling, over and over again.
US Open Series, US Open
Perhaps ANTA realised this. Post-US Open, they started to play around a little more with this teal coloured dress with black, lace-like florals along the chest.
Beijing – Moscow
And in Doha, JJ was put in a black dress with thin spaghetti straps.
It wasn’t unattractive, it looked like something Reebok or Lacoste would make. Was it “quintessentially JJ”? No.
Her tennis matched the outfit: equally unmemorable.
So what say you? Being the new kid on the tennistic fashion block, how would you rate ANTA’s efforts in 2010? What was your favourite?
Quotable Quotes: Sweethearts.
Folks – you know, it’s not great for my latent stomach ulcers to wake up at 5am in the morning to a string of expletives on my twitter feed directed at the Mighty McSmokin’. With a sinking feeling, I concluded Fed had lost the first set – the wind, the heat, a lefty he’s never played before: those are not exactly a winning combination of conditions.
As it turns out, the angst was merely directed at Federer failing to dish out baked goods.
Dear Twitter: you killed my brain cells for nothing. Does that DIS make you feel?
Not much to say on the match, which was quite literally easy and breezy. So much so that Anna Wintour grinned and accidently showed her teeth, a truly mind-boggling sight to behold.
Meanwhile, bzzzzzzzt Wozniacki.
Q. The women’s top seed is Wozniacki, also one of the youngest players. What do you make of her success?
ROGER FEDERER: I obviously haven’t seen her play so much. Definitely not as young as when Martina and Capriati and Serena all came up. They were all 15, 16, and you knew they were going to be future No. 1s in the world and win Grand Slams. That doesn’t happen so much in the women’s game, and actually in the men’s game you don’t have any teenagers in the top 100, which I think is a bit unfortunate. But games are getting more physical and more tough now. It’s just hard to kind of breakthrough sometimes, I guess. But seems like she’s doing great. She’s No. 1 seed obviously because Serena is not here, but she’s doing great in all other events, playing a full schedule. I’m sure that’s one of the reasons she’s ranked up high.
Mentioning Wozniacki, ’twas an equally breezy for the Dane, dishing out the first double bagel of the tournament against Ching Chang Chong Kai Chen Chang in just 47 minutes. The possibility that someone so adverse to ending a point could potentially leech her way to a grand slam is truly frightening.
But in a way, Mother Nature has also been fair: to give someone who looks like sunshine …
… One of the most unfortunate game faces in the history of unfortunate game faces.
In stark contrast to Wozniacki’s ease, JJ was made to work for her 64 36 62 win over dinosaurus Lucic – the feel good story of the tournament so far. (Yes, it is a little freakish to watch someone I vaguely remember from my spelling bee primary school days.)
Q. We, in the media, are always judging the performances of all the players. Let’s switch that around. What kind of job do you think the media does? Do you think we do a great, fabulous job telling your story or do we piss you off? What do you think?
JELENA JANKOVIC: You piss me off.
Q. How much do you know about [Tipsarevic’s] game?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Can I please talk about myself?
Sensationalism. I can do it too. But in the interest of fairness, here are the rest of the quotes:
You piss me off. [laughter] I think you guys do a great job, you know, sharing the stories, you know, what we have to say, what we have done, different kind of things, interesting things. And I believe that you’re always looking for some interesting stories to write. You’re not looking for boring stuff. You’re always trying to get some things that you can write that are going to sell the papers.
Q. Did you watch Janko’s match?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I thought he played really well. It was an amazing match. Really, congratulations to him. He was just really on his game last night. He was really impressive. Really happy for him that he was able to win. It was a really good win for him. Is not easy playing Andy Roddick here on a night match, American crowd. It was really tough. But I think Janko handled it very well. He did a great job, so congrats to him.
Q. How much do you know about [Tipsarevic’s] game?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Can I please talk about myself? We go to ATP tennis, San Diego house. Guys, I’m tired. I just played a three hour match.
American tennis. With the presence of the Williams Sisters, it’s not nearly as dire as tennis in my island home. But in a way, the seeds of desperation have been sown. Just like Australia or Great Britain, the US of A is looking for a favourite son or daughter, and whoever gets past the first two rounds of a slam – be it Capra or Harrison – becomes Oudinized. With a 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 win over Aravene Rezai, Beatrice Capra felt the burden of adoration firmly on her shoulders. Yet the parallels lie not in the players, but in the nation: starved for new talent, coupled with a natural affinity for underdogs and feel-good narratives. “Belief”. “Courage”. And in the case of Capra, she turned up to her press conference with a statement tshirt reading “Serves You Right.”
In a way, it’s a story too familiar to all of us:
“Fancy that! A player ranked 367th in the world took out the 18th seed. Oh the fickleness of fortune! Just two weeks ago, Capra was sitting at home in Ellicott City having lost in the Girls’ 18 national tournament, when she got a suprise call from the USTA to play in a wild-card playoff. Now look at her!”
The formula for a Cinderella sweetheart never changes.
But before everything sours your reception of these media Cinderellas, remember this quote, and remember the indelible mark this match, this day, has made in the life of a young woman. Feel good stories are feel good for a reason.
BEATRICE CAPRA: Winning today. I’d have to say that was probably one of the best moments of my life. This whole experience has been unreal, and I’m so happy, you know, I was able to, you know, go to the player party and be a part of this. I’m really excited.
That’s all from me folks. The obligatory “Dumb reporter moment” #1:
Q. I know you’re recently married. Can you talk about how that has helped you?
ROBIN SODERLING: I’m not married.
“Dumb-and-dumber reporter moment” #2:
Q. You’re recently married, are you not?
ARNAUD CLÉMENT: No.
It’s called Wikipedia, bitch.
Picspam: Vulnerability Tennis.
With the US Open about to commence, the New York Times ran a story titled “How Power has transformed women’s tennis” (clickey), accompanied by a slideshow and a series of videos filming the top women in ballet-inspired clothes, hitting in slow motion (clickey).
I realise I’m probably in the minority here – I didn’t like the feature. To me, it suffered from the same schizophrenia that any writing on women’s tennis in the mainstream media falls victim to these days – it laments the lack of iconic players on the WTA tour (Williams and Sharapova aside). It deplores monotony and highlights the inconsistency of the tour’s top players. It notes the growingly more prominent “missing generation” – my generation, utterly incapable of challenging Serena Williams.
And yet … despite its negativity towards women’s tennis, the piece tries to wow with the aesthetic appeal of ballet, piano music, and beautiful women in flowing, silky dresses, and ends with this conflicting statement:
People worrying about the game today will probably be the same ones, years from now, who boast about having seen Serena in her prime, along with Henin and Venus and Sharapova and Clijsters.
There’s nothing like it, they’ll say. Those were the days.
Make up your friggin mind.
And on the aesthetics – again, I think I’m in the minority when I say I’m not a big fan of the photo shoot: on the whole, there was too much hair and smoke, too little character or clarity. Besides, I fail to see anything remotedly balletic about the tennis of Vera, or Lena, or Vika or any of their other name-rhyming friends.
All this I say with one important exception – the photographs of Sam Stosur were stunning. It’s not so much that you hardly ever see the feminine side of her, so any attempt to put her in a dress inevitably wows.
No. It’s more than that.
These photos are a remarkably accurate reflection of Stosur’s character – a curious mix of power and vulnerability. Or perhaps even more accurately – power to mask vulnerability.
Trapped within her muscles and her sunnies, there’s a lot of tenderness and fear. The naturally aggressive, emotive mindset doesn’t come easily to her the way it does for – let’s say – Serena, and the simple routine of crawling out of her comfort zone each day, putting on a head to match her ironically powerful, attacking game is a challenge each of us witness Sam confront on a match-by-match basis.
Is it any wonder that she froze at Roland Garros?
Enough musings. Do you see what I see?
The rest of the photos: Lena, Vika, Vera and Kim (in that order), with a whole lotta hair.
Frazzle Post: Cincy-Montreal
- Gulbis v Murray. Nalbandian v Djokovic. Baggy v Berdy. RZod and ARod. I think I love you, ATP.
- One stat you should keep in mind as we head into Day 4 of Cincy: Roger Federer has never won more than 2 matches in Cincinnati in an even numbered year. Now he faces Kohlscreiber. Do your maths.
- Richard Gasquet is for no apparent reason STILL IN THE DRAW. Hope springs eternal. He’s up against Fish.
- If Ferrer v Davydenko sounds like the least appealing match of the day, then men’s tennis is in a very, very good place right now.
- FULL OOP
- At some point, someone has to make Kim Clijsters pay for her erratic play. SOMEONE. But will it be Kaia Kanepi?
- ARad v Kuzzy. Consistency v Flair. Your guess is as good as mine.
- Without making much of a wave since the Australian Open, Li Na has been amazingly consistent in 2010. She’s up against Azarenka for a place in the quarters.
- Regardless of the outcome of the match, there’s something that Francesca Schiavone has that Dinara Safina would very much like to have.
- Demmy, Woz, Pennetta, Zvonareva, all in action.
- FULL OOP
AusVotes 2010 preview:
Excuse the hijacking, it is my civic duty to show you this:
Much credit to GetUp for their work this election campaign. A voice of reason in Aus politics.
Without further ado, FRAZZLE AWAY!
Frazzle Post: Toronto (ATP) – Cincy (WTA)
EDIT// I HATE BEING RIGHT.
Federer v Murray – 3:30AM AEST
Clijsters v Sharapova – 5:00AM AEST
Why Murray and Clijsters will win, probably in straight sets:
- It’s a matter of form. They both came through their matches in straight sets. Both most comfortable on this surface. Murray in particular showed a lot of aggression in his quarterfinal and semifinal matches, beating quality opponents with ease.
- Fatigue – Both had the earlier day match with plenty of rest, both will face opponents in the night session who were taken to 3 sets before prevailing in over 2 hours.
- Pressure – Federer’s priority is the US Open, and as far as preparation goes, he’s gotten the most out of this week already. On the other hand, Murray is the only player in the top 5 without a title in 2010. He needs this more. The assumption being that need translates to want.
Reasons to rebut the presumption
- The rabbit – Murray can’t play much better than he has played this tournament. Roger Federer can, but he’ll need to pull a rabbit out of his hat – forget the brain cramps, the fatigue, serve well and play the kind of tennis he played for half a match against Berdych. At the end of the day, aggression comes more naturally to Federer than it does to Murray.
- Mentality – if anything, Clijsters has been just as messy as Sharapova this week, but I have a feeling that she may carry more of an aura for other players than Sharapova these days. Aura, as we’ve found out in the past, doesn’t really bother Maria. When it comes to mental strength, I still give Sharapova an edge.
- Pressure – pressure works in both ways. The fact that Fed has done better than expected this week, the fact that he knows what it feels like to win matches back to back against the top 10 again – taking this pressure off his mind might do just the opposite: loosen him up. (Though the narrative of today’s match prove the contrary.)
The fate awaiting Federbear, tomorrow (last minute clemency still on the cards).
Go Pinky. Go Maria. That is all.
Wimbly Fashion: Working the whites.
Always loved Wimbledon fashion – the white dress code has the effect of forcing everyone to try harder to stand out, as is the case with Venus Williams.
Love it, hate it, everybody’s talking about it. For my part, I don’t mind a little cha cha cha. She has the body to pull it off, so why not?
They say imitation is the best form of flattery. I think JJ still likes you, Woger.
Nice dress though. The folks over at Anta have outdone themselves.
It’s one thing design barflike dresses, quite another to charge people $300 for it. Yes, that’s you, Stella.
A dress that actually looks like tenniswear: the mind – it boggles.
For future, reference – this is called a BOLERO, not “some-weird-jackety-thingymajigue-that-Serena’s-wearing”. And she looks prim and classy in her strawberries-and-cream inspired gear. Nice one, Nike.
Masha finds herself looking sleek and corporate in a cropped blazer.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the definition of a good fit.
This is the definition of the opposite:
Honestly, can Zheng Jie get any cuter?
Don’t mind the dress, hate the white leggings. Good thing we won’t be seeing more of it then.
What’s your favourite Wimbledon outfit this year? Do tell!
Your thoughts …