1. ‘Pologies for the lack of bloggerific presence this week. Work, law school and life in general are all kicking my ass, the way Federer kicks R-
2. The earliest top 4 seed out of Shanghai, surprisingly, came to be Rafael Nadal, as he lost 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 to Jurgen Melzer over night. It was a simple formula of Melzer playing relentlessly boom-boom-pow-pow tennis and not missing for a set and a half. Rafa turned up only with a B-grade game – it was wasn’t bad by any means, it just wasn’t going to be good enough to weather a gutsy opponent who’s redlining his game and knocking on the doors of the top 10.
I’m guessing playing Bangkok and Tokyo prior to Shanghai didn’t help either. In an idiom of my wise and ancient ancestors in the Far East, let’s not “lose a watermelon to pick up a few sesame seeds.”
“I felt slow on court. I had more mistakes than usual. I played shorter than usual. A little bit more tired than usual in general, just physically and mentally. Just congratulate him and that’s it. Yeah, that’s it.
“He wasn’t a surprise for me. It’s true, he played very aggressive, but wasn’t very difficult play that aggressive against me today.”
Imagine the sheer volume of flak if those very same words were uttered by Federer.
3. A rather curious phenomenon in tennis: all the major journalists are reporting a rather vexatious lawsuit (fundamentally about tax and extortion) as ‘sports news’. A few high profile players’ names were dragged in, partly to make sure the defendant got maximum negative publicity, partly because … well, that’s what vexatious lawsuits are for.
And yet, YET(!) while these journalists did not hesistate to report groundless allegations as ‘news stories’, they’ve come out individually on Twitter to publicly proclaim their support for the innocence of the players involved – in a “I’m-writing-this-story-because-it’s-sensational-but-I-don’t-personally-believe-it-has-any-merit“ way.
You had a choice: to write responsibly or not to write at all. You chose neither. You don’t get to cop out and pretend you have some semblance of journalistic integrity in your ‘personal capacity‘.
4. Never the mind the fact that he speaks 4 languages and evidently learnt his fair share of Swedish from Lundgren, Roger Federer has used his time in China to take Mandarin lessons. On a scale of 1 to LOL-worthy fail … you probably don’t want to know.
Mind you, it is one of the hardest tongues to learn, as skillful as I’m sure Roger’s tongue is …
Roger: “Oh BY THE WAY, I’m learning Chinese…”
MC: “You’re learning Chinese? That’s fanta-
Roger: “CAN I SAY A LINE?!”
MC: “… okay, sure!”
Roger: “CHING CHANG CHONG CHONG CHONG!” (Non-literal translation: I’m so happy to be in China yo!)
Crowd goes wild.
Video evidence: clickey
Someone must’ve told Wogie McFeduhruh that the way to a Chinese’s heart is through massacring their language.
The way into Dootsie’s pants, on the other hand, is through actually winning tennis matches. Hopp Suisse.
- Austrian headlines: MELZER CRUSHES NADAL. Strange definition of a ‘crushing’ they’ve got going on in Austria.
- Simon Reed is an asshole.
- I welcome Roger Federer to stick a tweener through my legs any day.
- Is nothing sacred anymore? Nestor and Zimonjic split amicably. Nestor to partner with Mirny, while Nenad’s off to frolic with Llodra. Sucks to have a couple break up just when they’re starting to grow on you.
- Kimiko dearie, at some point, you have to give the young’uns a chance, right? Right?! No? Okay then … You keep doing exactly what you’ve been doing (taking out defending champ Stosur in three sets over in Osaka). Gambate!
I’m having blogger’s constipation, also known as a writer’s block. It’s not my fault that we had one of the most uninspiring days of the US Open thus far. So, statements of obvious facts on Federer v Melzer:
- It was electric. The point differential of 57-43% deceives. The scoreline of 63 76 63 underscores how much pressure Federer was under the whole way through the match, at all times.
- Melzer played with the vigor of a Junior World No 1 playing his first ever set against a top seed. THE WHOLE FUCKING TIME. Much respect for it, even if I sacrificed a significant proportion of my braincells for it.
- Federer moved like Jet Li, as exhibited on match point.
While Roger was vanquishing pedophiles on Arthur Ashe, Australia finally made up its mind and got a government. 17 days of electoral confusion, no violence, no looting. Nothing had to be resolved by a court, or worse – the military. At the end of the day, all it took was more discussions, negotiations, and reforms.
I say all this (despite most of you not giving a fuck about politics down under) because sometimes, we need to pause and reflect on just how lucky we are, and how unfair it is that so many people around the world, some of you perhaps, cannot enjoy what seemed to us like a perfectly natural process.
That is all.
I trust that Poojay is keeping you well informed with the tennis results, so I’ll keep this on my observations of the tournament during Day 7.
And what a day it was, looks like the Australian Open weather followed me all the way to London, for as I woke up in the morning, cloudless skies stretched to infinity all around me. Good morning sunshine! Jetlag? What jetlag?!
Staying in Wimbledon has its advantages. The apartment was a 15 minute walk through leafy suburbia streets, where the scenery changed from rows of red brick townhouses to small cottages and then to much bigger cottages. Wimbledon is not unlike its Melbournian counterpart – Kooyong. But wherever you went, the scene of florals filled the air: people here are nuts about flowers – in gardens, pot plants, window boxes. Got a piece of spare soil? Fill it with something colourful.
By the time I strolled into the AELTC, “the masses” were already lined up outside the main gates like sardines. For some reason, one of the smaller gates let me in early, so I found myself walking around largely deserted grounds, keeping an eye out for … err … ‘objects of interest’.
Sure enough, about 10 steps in, Melzer and Petzschner came walking past on their way to practice, yapping away happily in German. I kept a distance and began stalking in earnest. The two led me, bizarrely, to Severin Luthi, who was headed in a different direction with a can of balls on his racket. Suddenly changing my target, I followed Severin, who eventually led me to Court 10, where through a growing crowd, I could make out someone hitting a single handed backhand …
Trampling over young boys and older women, I eventually fought my way to the front bench on Court 10 like a true bitch. I’m sure you’ll all agree that I had premium views.
Overheard at Wimbly
A woman to her husband: “Oh my goodness, I didn’t realise Roger Federer was such a young man!”
The gap between tennis age and real life age.
Another 20 minutes (focused mainly on the return of serve) and Wogie was done. I gathered my things and prepared to go: it was game day. Roger had his game face on (no playing with lady bugs yo!). He probably won’t sign any autographs.
Overheard at Wimbly
A group of AELTC staff wandered over, “Roger, can we get a photo?” “No problem … wait wait, I wasn’t ready!”
More staff hurried over, too shy to ask now that Roger is back to packing his belongings.
“Haha, you’re too late!” One of guys in the photo teased. Roger turned around and motioned to the camera, ‘it’s okay,’ he said, he’ll take photos with the rest of the staff as well.
“Thanks Roger, good luck for the tournament”, said a girl shyly as she got moved into the photo. The fans awwed.
Having taken enough photos, Roger walked over and began signing autographs for the onlookers. Federbear caught his eye with his epic cuteness, and Roger took him from my hands and signed it!
I guess future forms of bear torture won’t involve the washing machine anymore.
With the practice session over, I hopped along to watch a set of Bartoli v Pironkova.
Overheard at Wimbly
Guy: “Who’s that chick over there?”
Me: “that’s Bartoli.”
Guys: “she’s the 11th seed here, so she can’t be bad, right?”
Me: “Are you kidding me? She made the final here a few years ago.”
Guy: “[silence] … Naarrrgggh. Yer wrong.”
A set of Hamster tennis was all I could handle. With a lot of time to spare before Roger kicks off the Centre Court proceedings, I decided to hit the Wimbledon museum. Not being a tennis traditionalist, I had no idea what to expect from the museum. As it turned out, I didn’t regret my visit.
Overheard at Wimbly
Museum staff: “You look Aussie, are you Aussie?”
Me: “How did you know?!”
Museum staff: “I’m going to take a guess and say that you’re from Melbourne.”
Me: “OH MY GAWD IT’S WRITTEN ON MY FACE ISN’T IT?!”
The museum was chronologically organised, covering the history of tennis from the champions to the changes in technology, the balls, the racquets, and of course, the fashion.
What I didn’t appreciate fully before visiting the museum was the role tennis played in women’s liberation. I’m not just talking about BJK here. Suzanne Lenglen caused a stir when she ditched her petticoats to play in a cotton dress. Helen Wills Moody popularised tennis fasion and made this sport stylish and aspirational for young women. Hell, the Suffragettes even tried to burn down Wimbledon one year.
But naturally, this was what I really came to see.
I don’t know how Robert and Lynnette do it. As I was standing in front of Roger’s Wimbledon outfit from last year, as I looked at the trophy nearby, I was so flooded with pride. Roger might be older than me, but he still has the tendency to make me feel like a proud mama sometimes. Well … most of the time.
The darling boy can’t help himself he’s so adorbs.
Time for the match! I was highly amused for a minute, when I sat down and discovered the person sitting on my left, right, behind me, and in front of me were all Aussie.
“Wait … you too?”
“Me too! I’m from Adelaide.”
“What are the chances?!” Everyone exclaimed.
“Well, I got my ticket through Tennis Australia.”
“Oh … that makes sense.”
What are the chances indeed.
Not much to say on the match. Roger kept it frazzle-free for me so I could use my time wisely to perve on his Royal Gorgeousness. For stretches of the match, I watched his feet, I watched his puny left arm, I watched his hair choreography. I also listened. Roger Federer has always been a quiet mover, but on grass? He’s totally silent. The only sounds were the shuffling footsteps of Melzer, the “plonk plonk” of forehands, “tap tap” of Federer’s slice, the “whoooosh!” as he suddenly hits through a backhand. Collective draw of breath from the crowd, and then – exhale, as backhand bounced, unreachable for Melzer.
Overheard at Wimbly
“Oh gosh, he’s so effortless. GOSH,” moaned the woman behind me, reaching tennis nirvana.
Fedgasms – it matters not if he plays B+, or A- or A+ tennis. It matters that you’ve seen his feet lift off the ground on a forehand, his torso rotating, his eyes watching the ball intently: friend or foe? It matters that you’ve seen him serve an ace, then turn around as applause rings through the stadium, the expression on his face nonchalant. I do this all the time you guys, no biggie.
It matters that I now have permanent bragging rights over my future grandchildren. “When I was your age, I saw Roger Federer play on grass, that guy was really something.”
By the way, Roger maintained his perfect record of never losing in front of me. 8-0. GET ME TO THE US OPEN NAOOOO.
Didn’t get Justine and Kim, but as far as OOPs go, getting my two favourite female players on centre court ain’t bad either. Fabulous first set tiebreaker, won in the end by the woman with the better serve. Like that should surprise anyone.
What was surprising was that this is the first time I’ve seen a crowd cheer for Maria Sharapova, partly because she was the underdog. Partly, I suspect, because of the Williams sisters’ uneasy relationship with the tournament.
Overheard at Wimbly
“Did you know that Serena once threatened an Asian woman that she was going to kill her?” Said the woman behind me.
GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT BITCH.
I drank what I needed to drink. I ate what I needed to eat. Everything tasted better with plastic cutlery. YOU KNOW IT DID.
No photos of Mandy. My camera battery died the moment he walked out onto court. I took it as a sign from the Tennis Gods that I should stay far far away from his pants. So I headed off without watching his first set and had a failed attempt at swapping my centre court ticket for a Court 1 ticket.
Overheard at Wimbly
“Is anyone here desperately in love with Ahndee Murray that they’d be willing to swap me their Court 1 ticket?” I asked a group of people waiting to go into Court 1 during the change of ends.
Their laughter was the only response.
“Come on guys! I mean … he’s so cheery and bubbly.”
More laughter. “Don’t like Murray huh?” A guy asked.
“Well … no.”
Even the usher couldn’t suppress a giggle.
FACT: Homelessness is a huge problem on the ATP tour.
The Davis Cup semifinals and World Group play-offs are underway this weekend across 3 continents. What we love about the DC is that it’s filled with manhugs, bromances, and Swiss campfires. It all comes down to having “the spirit”.
What we hate about DC is that no one cares enough to televise much of the action.
The hobo in the picture, also known as Stefan Koubek or more widely as “Federer’s Practice Buddy”, came back from two sets to love down, only to lose to Capdeville 6-4 in the fifth.
Earlier Massu defeated Melzer to give Chile a 2-0 lead over Austria.
In other ties, Gael Monfils appears to be still missing his marbles as he was stunned by birthday boy Thiemo de Bakker in 4 sets. WHO?
Only marginally more dependable, Jo-Willy did his bit for la Republique and leveled proceedings with a comfortable win over Jesee Huta Galung.
Also tied at one all are Sweden and Romania with Soderling and Hanescu both scoring wins on each side. This means, as le Sod tweeted, “no party til Sunday“.
You gotta feel for Ahndee Mooray. It sucks to be this good on a team that’s this bad. But Toothface felt compelled to save Britain’s Davis Cup hopes from full scale extinction by playing with a bum wrist.
Martyr. That boy.
It’s all very well, until you realise that this is only a zonal play-off, and even with his martyrdom, GB is tied at 1-1 against Poland.
Hey Muzz, there are some things worth sacrificing yourself for.
For others, call a sicky.
Onto more riveting stuff, the two Davis Cup semifinal ties were contrasting affairs.
The deep-pockets of Spain delivered time and time again, as Ferrer and Ferrero both score straight set wins over surprise semifinalist Israel. Color me surprised if Spain doesn’t successfully defend its Davis Cup title this year.
On the other hand, the efforts of the Czech Republic in putting themselves into a 2-0 lead over Croatia have been nothing short of epic, eliciting man-hugs all round.
It took Radek Stepanek five hours 59 minutes to beat Dr Ivo 67 76 76 67 16-14 in a match that featured Ivo raining down a staggering 78 aces, besting the world record (his own) by 23. Yeah Ivo, spank that ace.
Random thought: if it took Karlovic and the Worm almost 6 hours to finish the match, how long would it have taken if played between Rafa and Djoko?
And just in case you weren’t exhausted by the Ivo v Worm mindfuckery,
Berdych then took almost another 4 hours to ‘shock’ Marin Cilic, 63 63 36 46 63. Tough luck for the Red Hot Cilic Peppers, the picnic blanket brought him no mojo this time.
As for the Swiss… errr, WHAAAAA-
As I was saying before we were so rudely interrupted by Kanye, the Swiss sailed to a 2-0 lead over the Italians, with Stan and Roger both winning comfortably in 3 sets.
Roger Federer, THE WANKER, made 66% first serves, 10 aces, 0 DFs.
The “if-onlys” killed me.
He converted a respectable 6/15 break points. Umm … if you need me, I’ll be in my backyard, digging a hole and throwing my Federbear into it.
No Roger, not even a smiley Monkey Face will save you from my rage.
Although, I did discover the Swiss voodoos behind Roger’s rare break point conversion success:
Roger aside, the rest of the Swiss team was the epitome of cool.
Even Luthi had “the spirit thing” going.
I may be prepared to forgive Roger if he brings back that Fedrinka campfire.
Not to be denied,
Do head shots ever look good?
I love Kendrick’s face – he looks positively constipated.
Special mention to Gael Monfils though, the guy actually managed to look normal. Overall, a much better batch than the ATP’s previous attempt.
At least they don’t look like drug lords in these.