Wimbledon: Week 1 Tidbits
1. With some players, it’s love at first sight. Some floor you with a single performance. But some players grow on you like warts and moles. They may not have been your favourites to start off with, but as they approach the autumn of their careers, you realise that even without ever actively liking them, they’ve become part of some of your best tennis memories.
Andy Roddick is a wart. Having been bored by his game and stardom for almost all of his career, I found myself feeling desperately anxious for his future as he was knocked out 76 76 64 by Deliciano, a player he has never lost to before in 7 attempts.
This is not to discount the astounding performance from Lopez, who showed some uncharacterstic shallots to win the first two tiebreaks, meticulously plating up 28 aces and 57 winners on Centre Court. A minor upset this may be, the result actually reflects Deliciano’s form of late, which has mostly been obscured by some close losses – to Roddick by the narrowest of margins in Queens, and to Federer at Roland Garros and (rather epically) in Madrid. Read More…
Shanghai Tales: Watermelons and sesame seeds.
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!
The Frazzle Post: US Open.
SPECIAL EDITION FRAZZLES – Served by yours truly.
On the menu: cupcakes, muffins, bricks, perhaps a few asterisks too?
Which one would you like to take? Because folks: Andy Murray is gone, GONE. And NO ONE CARETH. *Sally Draper lisp* In related news, Ahndee Mooray apparently 62% Scottish as I write this, whadaya know.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR OUR FRAZZLE-FILLED LIVES?
Why I’m glad you asked!
- It means that the top half of the draw is smashed into James Frey. In a Roland-Garros-09-parting-of-the-seas kinda way, only swap Roger Federer for Rafael Nadal, Paris for New York.
- It means that there are too many of Rafa’s playstation mates left in the draw. Some of you share my boredom. Others don’t. That’s okay, since none of it will change the outcome.
- It means that it is very unlike that Murray, a “pre-tournament favourite”, will ever be a “pre-tournament favourite” again. That’s what you get for rocking the US Open Series, then flaming out early at what should’ve been your best tournament, TWO FUCKING YEARS in a row. Am I complaining? Why yes. But more on that later.
- It means that there are two Swiss in the second week of a slam. Coulda been three if Nutty Patty had survived Wicky. They make ’em good in Switzerlandia. They make ’em real good.
- What does this mean for the bottom half of the draw? ABSOFUCKINGLUTELY NOTHING. The 3rd seed? Still in. The fifth seed? Lurking just around the corner. Second seed? FRAZZLE. Only perceptions of loadedness has gone up.
- How unfair! How cupcakey! Now Roger has the bitchiest draw of all time – Melzer, 5th, 3rd, and top seed – if he wants to win. OH SHUT IT. When the draws came out, Rafa had the tougher half. It’s beyond the control of everyone except for Murray how that pans out. Besides, I’m a firm believer in Dootsie’s Principle of Cupcake Equal Opportunity: eventually, everything evens up. So cut the crap.
- Jurgen Melzer is the bane of my existence right now. NOTHING ELSE. We all need to put our tunnel vision goggles on. *hands out tunnel vision goggles*
THAT IS ALL UNTIL LATERS ALLIGATORS. Frazzle away!
ARTHUR ASHE – 11:00 am
Picket Fence Newsreel: Waiting for Godot.
1. It happens every Masters – punters predict a Fedal showdown, before Rafa and/or Federer crash out early in the “upset” of the tournament. Waiting for Federer v Nadal is like waiting for Godot these days.
And why do we want Federer v Nadal anyway? After all, Rafa might be my second favourite player on the men’s tour, but when he plays Fed, all bets are off. Perfectly jolly fangirls turn into shrieking banshees during a Fedal match, and not in the most harmless way either.
And yet because no matter how many times we proclaim the end of the Fedal era to be a good thing for the sport, no matter how commentators insist that tennis isn’t all about Federer and Nadal (umm … there is also the WTA?), you’d be hard pressed to find a few actual spectators who bought tickets to the final hoping to see Ivan Ljubicic in action.
We all want a piece of that history, even if the thought of that history makes us sharpen knives in fear.
By the way, ‘expert picks’ here and here. ‘Cause, you know, they worked out so splendidly at the Australian Open and Indian Wells.
2. Laugh in the Face of Haterade, Edition 1 2010.
I don’t like to take swipes at other bloggers. It’s impolite and after all, to each his/her own right? But if I started a paragraph with that sentence, you bet I’m about to do exactly that.
Those are my five reasons why Federer can win in Miami, but there are more. And to take the contrarian viewpoint, there are several arguments that can be made against Federer. Among them: he doesn’t care about these events anymore; his only title in the last seven months came courtesy of a Davydenko choke; he has a tough draw and guys like Berdych, Murray, etc, will beat him in best-of-3; he’s still not 100% in playing form; he can’t handle the Miami wind.; and of course the popular fact that I have now pick him so…; etc. And those are all fair points, but I’m sticking with Rog here.
Source: the fine intelligentsia of tennis-x
It actually took me a minute to work out what the person was referring to. Oh-Of-course, Roger Federer only wins titles (major titles) these days because Nikolay Dayvdenko allows him to. Poor, poor Roger.
3. The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Awards for 2009 were given out in Miami today. Congratulations to the recipients.
There were no real surprises, though I have no idea what the “Player Service” Award is all about.
- Player of the Year: Serena Williams
- Comeback Player of the Year: Kim Clijsters
- Doubles Team of the Year: Venus and Serena Williams
- Newcomer of the Year: Yanina Wickmayer
- Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship Award: Kim Clijsters
- Player Service: Elena Dementieva
- Humanitarian: Liezel Huber*
* Lizel Huber’s charity – Liezel’s Cause – helps victims of Hurricane Katrina. (clickey)
I thought Venus looked great…
Until I saw the Ugg boots.
4. OH MY GOD YOU GUYS: SODDYBUMS. SMILEY. DIMPLES. DOLPHIN.
I could put that into an actual sentence, but it would require to much thinking.
Who’s cuter? Bobby Sod or Flipper?
Ferrer was there too. Next!
Gonzo and Belluci joined the fun. Oh happy, flippity days!
5. I dare say Rafael Nadal will probably give you permission to punch his teeth out now. His wisdom teeth that is. He revealed during his pre-tournament press conference that he’s suffering from inflammation to his wisdom teeth. It won’t affect his participation in the tournament, but he was in visible pain during the press conference.
The pain started two days ago and Rafa will receive treatment during his stay in Miami. I sympathise, I really do. I should be getting mine out soon, it’s making a move.
6. In Miami results, Bandy had a much easier time than expected against Lukasz Kubot winning 6-3, 6-2. I wish I could say the same about Reeshie, who blew a close match against Belgium pocket-rocket Oliver Rochus, 7-6 (2), 1-6, 6-4 for his second consecutive first round exit.
So much for having points to gain.
As I write this, Fed’s latest hitting partner and the star of NBTA – Filip Krajinovic has split sets with Jimmy Blake.
On the women’s side, Justine Henin has no troubles dispatching Jill Craybas, while Kimiko battled past a flubbering AChak 75 36 64.
7. Federer fans, don’t ever change.
Picket Fence Newsreel: G.L.O.A.T
1. Oh they’ve done it again.
After snubbing Rafa for the Sportsman of the Year in 2008, Laureus has picked Bolt over Fed for Sportsman of Year in 2009. If a career slam and a record-breaking No 15 in the face of adversities aren’t enough, then I don’t know what is.
Perhaps they’re just waiting for present Fed with a special category of his own – Greatest Laureus of All Time.
GLOAT. Has a nice ring to it, don’t cha think?
2. Congratulations, nonetheless, to tennis recipients Kim Clijsters (comeback) and Serena Williams (Sportswoman of the Year). As much as I love Serena, either Laureus defines “sportswoman” purely on results and not conduct, or … it’s a weak era. Or something.
3. Tennis Australia isn’t the only organisation plagued by internal politics. Just a week after Britain’s defeat at the hands of Lithuania, rumors of a change of captaincy are rampant. Both Henman and Rusedski have been mentioned in various media reports.
I may see this differently as an outsider, but taking on the captaincy of the British Davis Cup team is just asking for failure. There is only so much a captain can do when he has so little to work with. Why would anyone want to take a job with such high expectations and so little means of fulfilling them?
4. Indian Wells results:
Easy, breezy for Justine Henin, who was dominant against Magda Rybarikova. Pink has never looked more unpink.
Things were less rosy for Jelena Dokic, who managed to hold serve just once in her 60 63 loss to Vera Dushevina.
Her Aussie compatriot fared better, as Alicia Molik sailed through to the second round. It wasn’t Wozniacki v Wozniak. Or Pe’er v Peers, but feel sorry for the umpire at the Molik v Malek match.
And Kimiko Date Krumm continued to put her youthful genes to good work, blitzing Melinda Czink for a 62 62 victory.
5. I’ve probably just Simon-Reeded her, but with Serena Williams out of the way and Kim Clijsters perceptibly wobbly post-Australian Open, this Indian Wells seems to be Justine Henin’s title lose. But Henin has her sights set on more medium-term goals.
“Mentally I need tennis, I need to play. Emotionally I feel better much better than in past. Physically I feel better than in Australia and after Miami I get three weeks until Fed Cup before I go back on my favorite surface [clay].
“The goal is the French and Wimbledon, so I’m not going to play too many weeks in a row. I’m not clear about my schedule before the French. My priority is to be fresh.”
Sounds like someone we know?
6. An ‘eyewitness statement’ of Roger’s practice sesstion. (clickey) 100% squishability.
Roger’s father, Robbie, joined the practice about half an hour into it, while Roger was taking a water break. As his father was making his way to the court, Roger exclaimed: “That is me in 5 years!”
Hi Monkey! We missed you too.
Down Under: Back to bedlam.
I was just about to praise the WTA last week for their incredible consistency, with Henin and Clijsters reaching the epic final in Brisbane, while Flavs and Wickmayer battled it out for the Auckland title.
But take a few key figures out of the picture, and suddenly, we’re back to bedlam on the WTA tour.
Lady JaJa led the way first with a straight sets loss to Agnes Szavay. Seriously JJ, I’m not talking to you.
Unless you lemme try on this dress.
As for Agnes, like any dark horse, she has the ability on any given day to upset a top 10 player, but it’s the top 50 that’ll have her number come the Australian Open.
Despite her loss, JJ tried to remain upbeat in her presser:
“It was my first match of the season. I hadn’t played her in a long time. I also hadn’t competed in two months,” Jankovic said. “I have to clean up some things in my game. I need to stay positive. I hope I’ll be ready for Melbourne.”
Things didn’t get better for the tournament top seeds as the day went on. Vera had to retire at 3-all first set against ‘Lena Vesnina due to her lingering ankle problems.
It bodes ill for the towel-head, as she appears to be in no shape to defend her semifinal at the Australian Open and title in Indian Wells.
Vera is now in a recovery race for the Australian Open next week, and admits that she’s not feeling too confident about the early hard court swing.
“I will try to recover for Melbourne, but the inflammation is still there because of the surgery.”
“Last year I had an impressive start and they are impressive statistics. If I look back it was very impressive and I am very proud of what I achieved,” she added.
“This year is going to be a very tough challenge for me to repeat that, but I am going to try my best. The most important thing for me is to compete 100 per cent without thinking about my ankle as the last six months were very tough for me never being able to compete at 100 per cent.
“I was always having to push myself to the limit and I had to take a week off after nearly every tournament to recover. That was difficult so I am looking forward to the day when I can play injury free.”
It was a bad day for the Aussies too, as both Stosur and Dellacqua lost in convincing fashion to Flavs and Vera Dushevina. With such frustratingly high expectations on our players, Australia’s becoming Great Britain 2.0 OH WAIT –
And can someone explain why Flavia Pennetta was dropped by Tacchini? Was Nole that expensive?
The real theme of the day was “Asian Assault”, as Li Na came back from a set down to beat CWoz.
Well done, you Golden Flower you. Clearly it was a piece of cake, seeing that you only needed 67 unforced errors to beat the No 4 player in the world.
On the other hand, Carol – while being the sweetest thing to come out of Denmark since raspberry danishes – appears to be still allergic to the concept of hitting a winner.
Different year, same shit.
God bless our youthful Asian genes.
If you thought Kimi was good back in Seoul last year, wait til you see her in 2010. After making the quarterfinals in Auckland last week, Date Krumm scored another important victory today as she beat Nadia Petrova 63 57 64.
It could’ve been an even easier victory, as Kimi squandered two match points at 5-3 in the second set. Nadia broke back, and was up an early break in the third set before Date Krumm regained the form she had through the first and second sets and sealed the victory.
On the one hand, Petrova just can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to drawing the most dangerous players first round. On the other – girl, you were outplayed, outrun, and out-thought by a 39 year old.
No wonder Fabrice Santoro can’t make up his mind.
On the men’s side of things in Sydney, Igor Andreev was upset first round by Leonardo Mayer in a third set tiebreak, 67 63 76, while Reeshie defeated Feli 61 64 and harkened back to the good times with Pamela.
I’m a new Seoul in this very strange world…
Talk about a comeback: Kimiko Date Krumm took down Kleybs, Dani, MariKiri and AMG to win her first title since … umm … 1996?!
She became the second oldest woman after BJK to win a WTA title in Open Era. But can we all agree that she does NOT look 39?
And. I’m sorry, did I say Steffi Graf shouldn’t make a comeback?
I take that back.
Your thoughts …