Short interview with Paul Annacone, nothing new … unless you’re a Fed-hater, in which case, the fact that he’s “a class act” may come as a bit of a mindblow for those in denial.
Short ATP highlights and the final set tiebreak, in case you felt like reliving the torturous good times.
Underarm serve by Llodra. Gotta love Roger’s expression.
Interview with Sharapova after her quarterfinal against Bartoli.
Shakespeare once said that it is love that guides lost ships home. Personally, I call it GPS.
But what of the lost ships of the ATP and WTA tours? What keeps them playing instead of disappearing into the Moor of Lost Souls? What stands in between a bad month, a bad year and permanent retirement?
Perhaps Willy the Bard was onto something.
Attempting to fight their way out of the Moor of Lost Souls this week, Nicole Vaidisova and Michaella Krajicek both scored their first WTA wins since last June, with Vaidisova defeating Laura Granville 6-4, 6-2 and Krajicek battling past Julia Schruff 2-6, 6-1, 6-2.
I don’t like to talk about Nicole Vaidisova. She depresses me.
Something about her fall from grace makes Dinara Safina’s slam struggles look like a tea party. At this point, the only good thing I can say about Nikki Vee is that … she’s only 20. There is still time.
Also with a first tour win since getting injured last July, Anne Keothavong defeated Kristina Barrois 6-1, 6-3 in Memphis.
Meanwhile injury comebacks are all the rage on the ATP, Carlos Moya downed Filippo Volandri 6-2, 7-5 in the opening round of Buenos Aires, while David Nalbandian sailed past Potato Star Ace 62 76.
“It was a good comeback. I hesitated very little, hardly at all. I’ll take things day by day. I’ll need four, five, six tournaments to [get back] the rhythm of the circuit.” – Nalbandian
We may scoff at the residents of the Moor of Lost Souls – those players struggling with injuries and their own marbles – but sometimes I wonder, what is it that keeps them playing, day after day, when things aren’t working out?
Perhaps they have unfinished business left. Perhaps it’s that perennial question, “what else am I going to do?”
Perhaps it goes back to the very reason why they picked up a racket in the first place.
Roger Federer is no wandering bark. He’s parked safely in the Bay of Love after dominating the ATP Awards for 2009.
The Fed got the nod for 3 categories – Player of the Year (based on rankings), Fans’ Favourite (online poll) and the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award (selected by fellow players).
I remember hearing a story years ago about James Blake receiving only one “get well” card during his spinal injury. It was from Roger.
It’s hardly a surprise then, that Fed’s 6th consecutive Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award is a record. But oh – never mind the judgement of his peers.
ROGER FEDERER IS STILL A DOUCHEBAG.
Doubles Team of the Year (rankings selected): Bob and Mike Bryan (5th win in 7 years)
Most Improved Player of the Year: John Isner
Newcomer of the Year: Horacio Zeballos
Comeback Player of the Year: Marco Chuidinelli
Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year (ATP selected): MalVai Washington
Masters 1000 Tournament of the Year: Shanghai
Masters 500 Tournament of the Year: Dubai (5th win in 6 years)
Masters 250 Tournament of the Year: Bastad (8th win in a row)
ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Doubles Favourite (online voting): Bob and Mike Bryan
In other news, top seeds Elena Dementieva, Flavia Pennetta, Caroline Wozniacki and Svetlana Kuznetsova were all upset in Dubai. In Memphis, there’ll no rematch between Roddick and Verdasco, as Nando was ousted by Jeremy Chardy in straight sets.
I doubt that it was what he had in mind when he entered the tournament, but somehow, I don’t think Nando’s too bummed about having that extra week to prepare for the Davis Cup.
Boy, I’m so glad I didn’t watch the match between Ferrer and Federer live today. Just watching a recording of it made me want to stab myself in the eye with a pen.
For someone who likes to play in the wind, Fed was having so much trouble adjusting to it. The forehand was gone with the wind, the backhand stayed home to look after Myla and Charlene. He clearly didn’t get much sleep last night, and decided to take a nap in the middle of the first set.
I think at the beginning maybe my footwork was just a touch off. After that I think got it together, you know, and started to play better and better. In the end when it goes your way, all of a sudden you can actually use the wind to your advantage in a big way. That’s what I actually hoped to do the whole match today, but it’s not so easy sometimes.
It’s all your fault Myla! Barf on him Charlene! Threaten him with another set of twins Mirka! Do it for the Federer fans who have lost nails, hair and developed stomach ulcers from watching this guy play.
And in case you were wondering why we’re still sadistic enough to watch Federer if we’re slowly developing bald patches because of him: I, for one, live my life from one Fedgasm to the next. And despite his sub-par performance, Roger did deliver some Fedgasms towards the end of the third set:
Roger is due to face Lleyton Hewitt next round, who took out Roddick conqueror Sam Querrey 6-1 2-6 6-3. Real trouper, Lleyton, but you’re a Kiwi to me, for at least the next 24 hours.
Ahndee Murray had a much easier time squishing the Worm 6-4 6-1. Didn’t watch it, but with Murray’s defense and control over the ball, I expect him to feed junk balls and passing shots back at Stepanek. No problems there with the wind.
Rafa was down 0-3 briefly in the first set before rallying past Paul-Henri Mathieu 7-5 6-2. It’s been a while since I’ve seen Rafa play properly, but it was befuddling watching him slice. Has he always done that?
In other matches, Gilles Simon took out Davo 7-6(6) 6-4 6-4. Lucky Loser Julien Benneteau downed Garcia-Lopez in three sets to set up an unlucky meeting with Toothface. Djokovic took out Chardy in straight sets 7-5 6-3, and no one cares.
Lastly: someone requested the music to the Rolex Federer ads. This was sent to me anonymously a few weeks back, and the link expired, so I reupped it. Clickey.
How do you say “GO TIM” in Canadian?
I didn’t expect any of the Canucks other than Dancevic to put up a decent fight in Montreal. Ironically, Dancy was the only one who went down not with a bang but a whimper.
Djokovic def. Polansky 6-4, 7-6 (6)
The match was wrapping up as I woke up here in Aus and from the little I saw, Djokovic was playing error-strewn tennis, at times looking frustrated that the crowd wasn’t on his side. But that’s Nole for ya – not exactly a player with a lot of security.
But it’s his first match since Wimbledon, so I’d cut him some slack as long as he ups his level later in the week. I need Djoko to prevent Toothface from robbing the No 2 spot.
Federer def. Niemeyer 7- 6 (3) 6-4
A bit of an ambiguous match and the reports tend to fall into two categories: some reporters and commentators positively purred at Federer’s performance, while others thought Roger struggled throughout the match against a guy ranked outside the top 400.
The reality falls somewhere in between – for it was actually quite solid.
Roger served unbelievably well, and was never really troubled throughout the match. But at the same time, Federer had the occasional heavy feet and very little rhythm until the end of the second set, when he produced a few of his usual “complimentary wow-wow shots”. It ain’t breezy, but it sure as hell ain’t bad either.
Credit to Niemeyer though – the guy was playing some pretty gutsy tennis, and why wouldn’t he? When this was effectively his swan song in front of a home crowd against the world No 1. A fairy tale ending to an unremarkable career.
Warm fuzzies: Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Best moment of the match was the happy embrace between the players after the match. It gave me the warm-fuzzies to see Roger let Niemeyer soak in his home crowd’s applause, before walking off with him together.
What a sneaky arrogant asshole! You know he’s just campaigning for his next Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award.
Gonzalez def Raonic 4-6 7-6 6-4.
Who is Milos Raonic and why was he so friggin good?
Tough for the 18 year old Canadian that no one’s ever heard of. He played some fantabulous, composed tennis, had match point on Gonzo during the second set tiebreak, only to lose it in three sets.
An admirable effort by the Babyface, he sadly reminded me of Gulbis two years ago. And if he keeps playing at that level, I’m going to have to learn to spell his name.
Murray def. Chardy 6-4 6-2.
Nothing more to say about this: best first round performance out of all the title contenders this tournament, which doesn’t say much about what’s to come of course.
There is more than just the title at stake for Murray in Montreal – he will overtake Nadal as the world No 2 if he wins the tournament, or reaches the final with Rafa losing in the semis.
Sorry to any Muz fans, but for the sake of normalcy in my tennis universe, Toothface cannot be World No 2. NO.
Ferrero def. Hewitt 6-1 6-4.
Didn’t see this one at all, but it seemed that Hewitt was bothered by a leg injury he sustained last week in Washington. JCF is still solid since Wimbledon and has a decent chance of being seeded for the US Open if he continues to play great tennis.
I could be reading too much into these presscons, but this was just awkward:
Q. Have you been watching Kim’s comeback at all?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, no.
Last unrelated tidbit – It’s the 12th August, which calls for a chorus of “happy birthday” to the other GOAT – Pete Sampras. Funny how Federer, Laver and Pete were all born within four days of each other. Now that’s good company.