Jo-Willy Tsonga and his father hosted a charity auction for Attrap’la balle and Mecenat Chirurgie Cardiaque French association. The former helps build sports facilities for children in Papa Tsonga’s native Congo, and the latter helps those suffering from heart diseases.
Giving him a helping hand, Roger turned up to the function to compare suits and engage in some friendly chatter.
So tell me, who wore it better? Consider your options.
Option A: Jo Willy. Sweet like chocolate swirls, mastering the look of the lonely businessman, reflecting on a life of endless one-night-stands in 5 star luxury hotels, yet in his heart of hearts, he still seeks the innocence of love.
Option B: Roger Federer. Tsonga may look like chocolate swirls, but this man? This man grows chocolate swirls right out of his head, nailing the look of the modern day James Bond, distantly related to posh aristocracy, smooth, proud (too proud?), but privately a dork who cries into his teddy bear each night.
Dootsie’s in his pants. She’s telling you now – they are very good pants indeed.
The Verdict? It’s close. I’m digging the way Roger’s top button accentuates his figure though. Best of 5 set sexy-timez, bitches.
So tell me, seriously, who wears it better?
You and me. Could write a rad bromance.
It seems just yesterday that Miami wrapped up with Randy and Kim feeling the good vibrations, suddenly, we’re entering the hustle and bustle part of the clay season as the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters kick off this week.
Much like the principality itself, the tournament threw a lavish players’ party, attended by Rafa, Nole, Jo, the Nandopez (Felicinando?) and the Ljubs.
Raise an eyebrow, if you must, at Rafa’s choice of shoes.
Dapper Jo can do no wrong. He’s bringing out the shoulder-fetish in me these days.
Nole needed his better half present to upstage the competition.
Unfortunately, the security was a tad lax and a couple of hobos managed to crash the party.
Since Rogie and Mirka are going to adopt me, these guys can be my godparents. Have you ever seen anything sweeter?
Mrs Ljubs totally channelling the Mirka vibe there. You go Boss.
You learn something new every day: apparently “oceanographic” is a word.
Not only is it a word, it’s also a museum in Monte Carlo, attended by Nole and Jo-Willy head of the Monte Carlo Masters this week.
Gawd, I don’t say this often but Nole totally looks nerd-chic. In a Dostoevsky-reading librarian at an all-girls school who listens to indie music and writes Eskimo poetry kinda way. Golly.
Ahem so … MOVIN ON NOW.
Well dressed, Nole. I’m impressed.
Jo-Willy doesn’t have to wear anything to impress me. In fact, he doesn’t have to wear anything at all.
Tsonga’s shoulders. Unf.
Fault Caroline Wozniacki for many things – her “lack of weapons”, her “ugly” counterpunching game style, her vulture-like tactics, feeding on the carrion of other players’ errors rather than living and dying by her own sword.
Yet perhaps the biggest irony in Wozniacki’s game is the fierceness behind the appearance of complacency in her game.
If CWoz was intimidated by a more mature and experienced champion in Henin, she didn’t let it show for one second in her 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-4 loss to the Belgian. It was a highly competitive affair, with Justine making almost 30 unforced errors to concede the first set in a tiebreak.
She needed some medical treatment in the second set, but cleaned up her groundies significantly to take the last two sets with just over 20 unforced errors, and what seemed like an endless flow of breathtaking shotmaking, capped off with a smile.
Justine 2.0, I facebook-like you. I really do.
While Justine was at her usual mental best – relentless, focused and constantly intense – what was more surprising was the ferocity and hunger of CWoz. She was as aggressive as the limits of her game allowed her to be. Make no mistake, CWoz may have the game of a vulture, but the girl’s a tigress underneath.
And wasn’t that something to behold all the same?
Q. Were you surprised how she kept points alive for so long when they seemed won by and you they were still going?
JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah, it was incredible. She has such a good defense. First time I played against her. I watched some videos and everything, but a lot balls were coming back into the court.
And like I said, she’s really smart. She never hits two balls in the row with the same rhythm. She does a lot different things, especially with her backhand.
So that wasn’t easy for me to find a good position in the court. Sometimes I was too far; sometimes I was too much in a rush.
So finally, the third set I could find the good rhythm.
Q. You haven’t seen a moonball in a while, have you?
JUSTINE HENIN: No, it wasn’t that easy, but I came through.
So this marked the end of Caroline Wozniacki’s IW/Miami campaign.
In the past 3 weeks, she made a final and a quarterfinal – probably the best result of the WTA field. Yet what also became clear during these two tournaments is that CWoz is not yet a slam contender – something you’d expect the No 2 player in the world to be. And after the woes of Dinara Safina last year, one thing is for certain: tennis fandom hath no fury like a ranking system scorned.
On the men’s side of things, it’s hard not to notice the giant Federer-shaped hole in the men’s draw. But luckily for the tournament, despite the exit of a few top seeds too many, Rafa and Randy both held up their end of the bargain and progressed in straight sets.
The match between Rafa and Tsonga, in particular, showcased some heavy hitting as well as creative shotmaking.
Jo-Willy – Mr Pretty – had his chances. 8 of them in fact. He converted none while his forehand periodically AWOL throughout the match.
On the other hand, Rafa – Mr Pretty Please – was more efficient, converting 4 of his 5 break chances to seal the match, 63 62. But at any point during both sets, he could’ve easily given away a few breaks and let Jo back into the match.
Unlike a certain potato-head, Rafa didn’t. At the end of the day, that made all the difference.
Isn’t confidence a beautiful thing?
Congratulations to Kim Clijsters and Andy Roddick. Miami Champs for 2010.
1. The withdrawal bug has hit Indian Wells: Del Potro and Gonzalez are officially out.
The former is still struggling with wristy business and the latter needs the time to raise money for the earthquake relief effort in his home country. I don’t know what Gonzo’s planning, but why couldn’t he have done what Zheng Jie did for the Szechuan earthquakes and donated his tournament winnings? EDIT: WORD JUST OUT – Gonzo will be playing either Fed or Rafa in Miami to raise funds for Chile.
Davydenko and Federer are “technically” still on the entry list, although I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a last-minute withdrawal from Dayvo.
2. We’ve all been touched by the tragedies in Haiti and Chile. The same rings true for many tennis players. The Hit for Haiti program in Indian Wells announced today that it will feature Steffi Graf, Lindsay Davenport, Justine Henin and Martina Navratilova in addition to Federer/Sampras v Nadal/Agassi. That’s 94 grand slams over 3 decades of arse-kickery. Smelling salts anyone?
But as I tweeted earlier, what I’d really love to see is Roger and Steffi in mixed doubles. They remind me a lot of each other.
3. Mentioning Haiti, can you find a tennis player in this video?
4. The dramas within Tennis Australia make the snooty private girl school I went to look like a community of Buddhist monks. Stop the factionalism and get your shit together, TA.
McNamee, the former Australian Open CEO and a current Tennis Australia presidential candidate, has been credited with helping to smooth the rift between Hewitt and his talented heir apparent. The players recently shared a telephone conversation that both have said helped resolve differences, notably a practice-session snub at Wimbledon that Tomic has described as a ”misunderstanding”.
McNamee confirmed yesterday that he had played a role in the bridge-building, while refusing to divulge specifics on the basis that ”it’s just so good for the sport that it’s been sorted out”. Yet he was clearly bemused by Fitzgerald’s claim that Tomic had heard only from Hewitt and that no third parties had been involved.
”He hasn’t heard from Paul [McNamee] or anyone and I don’t know whether there’s any self-promotion around from any corners of the tennis community,” cup captain Fitzgerald said on Saturday. ”But all I know is that Paul hasn’t had anything to do with this Davis Cup team, not for the last 10 years and not now. I want to make that very clear.”
McNamee’s response: ”I was there, so that’s all I can say. If I’m there, I’m there. It’s extraordinary.”
5. It’s Oscar season and Serena Williams looks ready to hit the parties during her Indian Wells absence. She made a shimmery appearance at the Global Green pre-Oscar party. As the name suggests, eco-friendly is the new Avatar.
6. Since we’re talking flicks, Paradon Srichaphan’s been busy promoting his new movie, the historical thriller “Bang Rajan 2”.
A man of many talents, apparently.
7. Shock! Horror! Outrage!
No Federporn Friday this week. As you can see, I am Macbookless and stuck with a desktop PC 😦
With upsets all the rage in Dubai, one can’t help but wonder if Dubai’s carnivorous birds jinxed the tournament into sheer anarchy.
Day 2 of the tournament saw Muzzball, Davo and Jo-Wills all crash out at the hands of lower-ranked players. Djoko survived a scare, conceding the first set before he managed slow-cooked Troicki into defeat. Only Marin progressed in straights with a victory over Koubek.
Yer go Cilic Peppers.
Don’t cha geddit, Dubai organisers? No one really wants to put their hand into that thing.
Uhuh. The Fed decided to turn up to the players’ party for the second year in a row without actually playing the tournament.
Yeah douchebag, spread those lung-infectious germs! Spit into their drinks when they’re not looking!
While he was there, Roger received a gift from a local artist. Somehow, I don’t think he’ll be hangin’ that in his living room.
Nole was game enough for the falcon of course. Wouldn’t have expected any less from him. They are birds of a feather after all.
And as the draw opened up spectacularly overnight, perhaps it’s finally time for the Falcon to defend a title for the first time in his career.
Although knowing him, he’ll probably just cockblock himself into failure again.
Before the tournament, tennis commentators said the men’s tour has never been so deep.
They said there were “12 men” in the draw who could win this slam.
They said that players these days are fitter, more athletic, and better than they’ve ever been.
I myself wasn’t sure that Roger would make the final.
In the end, Soddycakes lost first round with a bum elbow. Rafa’s knees went gaga on him … again. Randy struggled with a rebel shoulder. Nole looked like he was about to puke, which apparently is different from how he usually looks. Playstation didn’t come with an extended warrantee. And Delpo had … whatever he had.
Ultimately, there are only two men with the ability to win on Sunday – Federer and Murray, the bookies’ favourites before the tournament.
Come Sunday, I’ll be frazzling my knickers off. But right now, I’m just soaking in the happy fact that Roger Federer, once again, has put himself in a position to go one better on his slam tally.
- 8th consecutive final, second in ATP history to … oh, himself with 10.
- 18 of the 19 finals. For a man whose “imminent” demise was heralded way back in 2007. Waiting for the end of Federer is not unlike waiting for Godot.
- 23 consecutive slam semifinals. Only 2 other men since 1970 have made every semifinal within a calendar year – Lendl and Nadal. Roger has accomplished the feat 5 times.
In that, and in most of his records, Roger Federer stands alone.
We may never see the likes of him again.
Tonight’s a night for celebrations, not frazzling. And tomorrow, we shall enjoy the brilliance of Serena and Justine. Life doesn’t get better than this.
A humble minion,
Q. You spoke on court after the match about the fact that your father worked here for a few months, and there was a chance for a while that the family could have emigrated to Australia. Could you elaborate on that?
ROGER FEDERER: I don’t remember quite ‑‑ I was maybe 12, 14 years old. I remember actually my parents having a debate, are we moving away from Switzerland to come live over here.
At the end, they just said, Look, we have all our friends over here. And even though it’s lucrative and nice to go to Australia, they love the country, they also asked us kids. And we were like, whatever the parents decide. What are we gonna decide here?
So at the end they decided to stay in Switzerland. So, yeah, it was interesting time, you know, but it was quickly decided on. I think we even went ‑‑ I mean, went on vacation here maybe before I joined the National Tennis Center at 14.
We went on a big vacation here through Melbourne and Brisbane and Cairns and everything to maybe get a better idea of the country. Beautiful vacation, but at the end we decided to stay in Switzerland.
Q. What was your father doing out here? And secondly, Australia Day is coming up, and traditionally any new citizens who want to change nationalities choose that day to do it. You’ve still got time.
ROGER FEDERER: I would probably move first to South Africa than Australia, because I have that passport, too. No, my father was working in the paper industry. I don’t know how you call it in English. Ask him yourself. He’s in the corridor sometimes.
Hello Roger?! You big tease. WE’RE SO READY TO ADOPT YOU: you’re easygoing enough for this country. You play cricket. You’ve hired numerous Australians – EASING THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IN THIS COUNTRY. Rod Laver loves you. The crowd loves you. I celebrate your puny left arm every Friday. You’d be the next Pat Rafter, but clothed.
COME TO MAMA!
Umm … back to the tennis. After a day of upsets and close shaves, Day 6 of the Australian Open turned out to be an underwhelming affair.
Roger Federer progressed safely past Montanes. After a sharp first set, Federer shanked a few backhands in the second and third sets and elicited a few miffed roars.
But he stayed solid on serve throughout, facing no breakpoints and only one deuce. Did what he had to do, and we’re safely through to the next round.
Oh, and Monkey made his 2010 debut today. Hi Monkey! Long time no see.
Roger’s history with his fourth round opponent plays like a broken record. Lleyton Hewitt may not be the player he once was, but he’s still one of the safest bets you can make for fourth round. He’s through after Marcos Baghdatis pulled out of their encounter, down 6-0 4-2 with a shoulder injury.
I’ll spare you the picture of Lleyton, how about Bec instead?
Looking back on the last few years, it seems that all my memories of Baghdatis involve him collapsing onto a court in pain, or getting some part of him rubbed during a medical time-out.
You can either blame the Tennis Gods for that, or you can blame Baghdatis’ level of fitness for allowing someone so young to spend so much of his career injured. And that part, he can control.
His shoulders certainly looked alright when he visited Brighton Beach today.
Dude, that’s not how you play cricket.
Let Roger show you.
See Roger? You’re definitely an Aussie inside.
In other matches of the day, Verdasco had an easy day at the office as Fed’s sometime hitting partner Stefan Koubek retired with an illness after losing the first set 6-1. Djoker needed no retirement to bonecrush a third round opponent ranked more than 100 places below him, defeating Istomin 6-1, 6-1, 6-2. Talk about cupcakes, Nole faces Kubot in the fourth round.
You’ll excuse my peevishness at these presscon questions.
Q. Has the locker room respect for Davydenko grown over the past couple months?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: In my own opinion, I don’t look at him in a different way. I always had the respect for him because I always was aware of his quality as a player. He’s an incredible fighter.
As I said, he was one of the players that was kind of underestimated in the last five years. He’s already five years in a row in the top 10, top 5 in the world were you got to give him credit for that. Basically 80, 90% of tournaments he’s reaching quarters. That proves his quality.
Lately he just stepped it up. I think he feels it as well. He feels that he can beat anyone now.
Q. Are you still one of the least‑known players? Do you get bothered for your autograph? You said no one in London did at all. Are you becoming a little bit more…
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: If I go outside now here, it’s be difficult to do in autograph. But in the street in the city, yes it’s easy. Nobody recognize me and it’s good feeling really. Really good feeling.
Q. You live your life.
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Yes. I like what ‑‑ how I enjoy my life, yes, like this.
Q. If you make the final, would you like to play on Margaret Court Arena? You’ve spent a lot of time out there. Are you disappointed that you haven’t played on center court yet?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: No, no. Why? It’s always I know I starting here at Australia at Show Court 2, Margaret, then maybe Vodafone, like before was, yeah.
I don’t know. Rod Laver, it’s from quarterfinal always I starting to play. That’s was I think it’s good. I know I’m not like No. 1, No. 2 like always will need to play on center court.
But, if I know if I reach quarterfinal and I play center, it’s also good feeling, you know, like coming here, 2010, I play if center court Australian Open.
Lemme get this clear: For years, all the players and true tennis enthusiasts have known Kolya to be one of the most dangerous players to have never won a slam. Tennis media has been the one under-appreciating him all this time. And now they’re trying to spin a story of the charismatic Russian, overlooked by superficial fans and flashy fellow players, when they’re the ones doing the overlooking?
Oh just pass me a bucket.
Jo-Wills had a tougher time in his match, overcoming a slightly injured but spirited Tommy Haas. In probably the highest quality match of the day, the two went toe-to-toe for the majority of the first two sets. Haas lost his head a little in the third set, conceding it with a breadstick, but went up 5-3 in the fourth.
Just when Tommy was looking to level at 2 sets apiece, Jo-Wills mentally checked back into the set and simply overpowered and outgunned the German.
After the match, Jo took his time to show Jim Courrier how to properly do the happy-jump.
Gotta say, I like Jim, but he’s gotta stop cracking all these “dad jokes”. They bring back memories of personal trauma.
While it’s all about the two Belgians on the women’s side of the draw, it’s easy to forget that for the first time in tennis history, two Chinese women, Li Na and Zheng Jie, have made it through to the fourth round of a slam.
Just goes to show how much I know about the Chinese players – both Li Na and Zheng Jie are married to their coaches. How when why?
Q. Are you talking with Zheng during this (slam) process?
NA LI: Yeah, we are talking a lot. We can go like eat together and shopping together. We are not against, so we are friends. (Laughter.)
Q. Both you and Jie Zheng are married and have a coaching husband. So this relationship works pretty well for a woman’s tennis player?
NA LI: I think they have different player. I don’t know how is another player. For me, if my husband come with me, if I have something, I can just talk to him next second. We can communication fast. I think for me it was the best way. I don’t know how is another player. Everyone is different. Yeah.
Li Li Na Na is closing in on her goal of making the Top 10 in 2010 after defeating Daniela Hantuchova in 3 sets in one of the more competitive matches of the day.
The two were evenly matched in both their shot-making abilities and brainfarts, but Li was by far the more athletic one of the two.
Watching Dani’s beautiful ball-striking today, I couldn’t help but wonder what would her career have been like if she came with just 20% more mobility. How can someone so slender and light move with such heavy feet?
In other matches, Serena and Venus continued their march towards a semi show-down as they both overpowered their opponents to reach the fourth round. Very impressed with Venus’ elevated form so far this tournament, not so impressed with the banana peel dress.
Venus has to watch out next round, as she faces a red hot Francesca Schiavone, after Franny pretzeled Aga 62 62 to equal her best ever performance at the Australia Open. Vika, Carol and Zvoom Zvoom Zvonareva also made it solidly through to the next round, all in straight sets.
See what I mean about an underwhelming day of tennis?