Tag Archive | Laura Robson

US Open 2011 (by LJ): Day 3 Wrap – An Ode to Venus

Dear Venus,

You brought something very special to tennis, whether it was those early hair beads flung across the courts every swing, or your gangly but poised frame gliding across the Wimbledon grass there was tennis before the Williams sisters and tennis after the Williams sisters.

As the oldest Williams sister, you’ve endured so many generations of players but yet you still come back, time and time again, pulled back by your love of the game.

To have your career stopped, so cruelly by an illness which has no certain remission rate and no cure is just….UGH.

Get better soon Vee, you deserve to come back and receive a proper send off.

WTA

Venus Williams withdrew from the US Open 2011, citing Sjogren’s Syndrome and probably taking her out from tennis indefinitely. The diagonsis was long coming, Vee only having played 4 tournies this year has been looking out of sorts for a while. Sabine Lisicki goes through to the 3rd round.

A Slew of seeds fell by the wayside today including Cibulkova, Radwanska, Bartoli and Wickmayer. And it’s only the 2nd fucking round. I mean is the season just too long? Or is it the WTA points system? cause someone needs to sort this shit out.

Robson and Dulgheru underperformed compared to their first rounds earning themselves a boot from the tournament.

ATP

On the Men’s side, Soderling joined the list of US Open wounded, withdrawing just before his match with a virus, another statistic for the “Season is too bloody long argument”.

Roddick continues to struggle, needing 4 sets to get past Michael Russell, as Murray and Del Pony do it easy in 3.

Also doing it easy was Julien Benneteau taking out 10th seeded Almagro….Almagro was ranked 10????? WTfuckery?

3 matches went the distance including Gilles Simon who needed 5 to get past Brazilian Ricardo Mello, which shouldn’t bother him too much considering what he did at the Australian Open this year after winning Sydney , (almost burst an artery sitting through that match.)

And that’s it from me folks, the next few days will be brought to you by PJ but I may drop in sometime next week.

Happy USOing

LJ

US Open 2011 (by LJ): Day 1 wrap

Day 1 of the US Open 2011, and there was something palpably missing in the air. The OOMPH of Slam excitement  carried away by Hurricane Irene perhaps. The crowd was subdued and the players mostly went about their business, the seeds not finding much rhythm but then the unseeded found even less. Basically everyone was a bit mopey having walked out of their caves for the first time in a few days.

ATP

Wogie Mcfedpants made short work of Santiago Giraldo, 6-4 6-4 6-2, so says the scoreline but those who watched felt the uneasy moments as Mcfedtastic lost momentum and started showing poop for brains at crucial moments. Leading 5-1 in the first, he was broken serving for the set and then got broken to love in the next service game. Worrisome? Probably not but there was enough frazzling on my twitter timeline to suggest that peeps were a little agitated. Save the agitation for later folks, we’re in for a tough road ahead.

Fed’s next round will be up against Dudi Sela whom dispatched a clearly hobbling Thomas Belluci in 5 sets.

Other notables:

Red- perhaps-not-so-hot-Cilic-Pepper took out Ryan Harrison in ugly fashion. Harrison could have easily taken the match to a 4th and squandered it with his padawan youth. Back to Bollitieri academy m’dear. Cilic will play Tomic in one of the best matchups in the 2nd round on paper. Hope it won’t turn into the Aus Open 2010 meeting, where I stayed for 2 sets and decided to leg it back to the hotel before I fell comatose to boredom.

Tomic showing clear signs of his talent and form, downed US journeyman Michael Yani in comfortable straights. Like it or not, IMO the kid has the goods and his style is good for tennis and Australian tennis in particular.

Don’t-Call-My-Name-Falla defeated Troicki in 5, in a match that Troicki should have won. But Troicki is an ass so whatevs. Llodra and Petzschner also came through in 5.

Kei Nishikori retired injured once again. I wonder when the kid will catch a break. He was 1 of 3  Japanese players to retire hurt today.

I’ll leave you with my favourite picture of the day from the men’s side. My BB Greegor forgot to face the net and thus lost in straights to Le Monf.

WTA

Biggest upset of the day was earned by Petra Kvitova, going down in straights to Alexandra Dulgheru of The Ukraine. Kvitova is clearly going through her post-slam slump but Dulgheru, ranked top 50, is no easy opponent for a 1st round and Kvitova was clearly sluggish and her timing was completely off.

Shreiky needed 3 sets to get past GB up and comer, Heather Watson. I like Watson, like Laura Robson I think she’s got a good head on her shoulders but experience took  over as she faded in the 3rd.

Speaking of Robson she was leading Ayumi Morita before the latter folded to shoulder injury. Bad day for Japanese players.

Nadia Petrova struggled through in 3 and the rest of the women’s matches played out according to script.

So that’s that, first day down, 13 to go.

To leave, I’d like to address this fashion faux pas of the day:

DEAR NIKE,

WHAT IN THE FUCK IS THIS????

They look like those Korean tube socks people used to turn up in in high school…like…WHUT???? PLS EXPLAIN!!!!!

Till tomorrow, adios amigos

LJ

Quotable Quotes: Down-with-prudes. Hoes-R-Us.

With Wimbledon lurking just behind the last few days of the French Open, Laura Robson was interviewed by Vogue’s Ami Sioux. For her “first interview”, LRob certainly didn’t disappoint, with the Daily Mail subsequently pinching a few quotes under the headline “Laura Robson’s verbal volley against the ‘sluts’ of ladies’ tennis“.

But beyond calling her fellow players “sluts”, the rest of the article turned out to be shallow, airheaded and at times, down-right sexist. Not all of which was Robson’s fault – she happened to have the misfortune of being interviewed by a bit of a “Rita Skeeter” who took a rather stereotyped, uninformed view of women’s tennis. What else is new?

Consider the second paragraph of the resulting article.

It’s an arcane little world, women’s tennis. Even though the game’s been enlivened by beauties Anna Kournikova and Maria Sharapova, with their blonde manes and famous boyfriends, it’s the grunting butch girls with their blunt bobs and stocky frames that are the enduring image of the game.

I’m sorry – famous boyfriends? I just had to look up the spelling of Sasha Vujacic and Enrique Iglesias?

And what’s with the “blonde manes” v “grunting butch girls”? What is this? High school?

Perhaps it is purposefully “high school” considering the age of the interviewee. But then again, I don’t know how many high school students have trust funds, tote Balenciaga’s and strut the streets in their ‘black leather DKNY bomb jackets’.

[Robson’s] love of fashion, she says, is inspired by the magzines she buys on her way to tournaments (she reads British, French and US Vogue), and the “edgy and feminine” way Parisian girls dress (she trains just outside the French capital). Today, she’s in black Acne skinny jeans, a sailor top, a grey cardigan, black leather DKNY bomber jacket and black ballet flats. As she speaks she twists her long dark hair into a side plait and fishes a Blackberry out of her aforementioned Balenciaga.

“Did you buy that with your winnings?” I ask, pointing to the bag. “My parents don’t give me any money,” she says with frustration. “I have no idea what’s in the bank, they keep the lot – something to do with a trust fund.” Later I find the amount she’s reported won to date – $117,997 – marked on her Wikipedia page. $34,000 at the Hopman Cup alone.

“My parents gave me the bag for Christmas,” she says, changing the subject. “Actually they gave me a pink Marc Jacobs one with gold studs first, but I didn’t think it was umm … Actually I wanted something that I could wear with everything, and pink isn’t something that I wear.” Deftly and tactfully put, because it’s obvious she loathed their original choice.

If only she could be “deft” and “tactful” on some of the other topics. The conversation soon turned inevitably from fashion to tennis, as “Rita Skeeter” probed about life on the WTA tour.

It’s so much fun,” [Robson] says. “We all know each other so well. I’m known as the Gossip Queen, but I’m careful never to repeat a word.” She goes on to show me a video on her Blackberry of herself and her friend, the Canadian player Eugenie Bouchard, dancing in their underwear to Miley Cyrus’s “Hoedown Throwdown” – Adidas pants on their heads – and then flick to a picture of a tray of the most perfect-looking cookies and cupcakes she baked in a hotel kitchen while at the tournament.”

Not satisfied with underwear dancing, ‘Rita Skeeter’ kept prodding away, hinting at the ‘lesbian’ stereotype on the WTA tour. Fortunately for LRob, her answer completely missed the point.

But it can’t all be roses can it? A bunch of hormonal girls all competing against each other? Give me some stories, I say. What goes on in the locker room? Are the Billie Jean King stereotypes still true? “They are unbelievably strong women,” she says steadily. “So it goes on from there. But now you’ve got Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic, so it’s changing, everyone’s doing photo shoots. It’s more glamorous.” So are lesbians, I nearly added.

“And what about the naughty stuff?” Continued the horrid interviewer.

… She denies any naughty business in Paris – no running off after curfew. “We’re tucked in by 10pm,” she says. “My coach knows that I’m sensible and that I will go to bed at the right time. I don’t like the taste of alcohol and I really hate smoke. Some go to nightclubs, but I don’t. I’m not really interested.”

Darn it. No goss there, but I hear the men in tennis have fine moobies. What do you say, Laura?

And here, the ‘Rita’ got what she was looking for.

But what about boys, surely there are boyfriends?

“Some of the tennis girls, they’re sluts. They go with every guy and make such a bad name for themselves – and you don’t want to be known for stuff like that. You want to be more discreet.” She once pretended to a reporter that Marat Safin (a now retired Russian player) would be her date to the Junior Wimbledon dinner. “He’s phenomenally good-looking,” she says. “But he’s old – he’s 30.” So she likes older men? “Guilty,” she says. A vice, finally.

The use of the “S” word caused some controversy soon after the publication of the article and Robson later attempted to back out of it, claiming that it was ‘taken out of context’.

Tell me – in what context is it okay to refer to your colleagues on tour as – and I’m quoting the dictionary meaning here – “slovenly and promiscuous women“?

None.

… Unless you work at a po-mo, boob-baring, bra-burning feminist lobby, in which case the word ‘slut’ is generally thrown around as a ‘down-with-prudes, hoes-r-us-yo!‘ type compliment.

Prompted by Laura’s mother, ‘Rita Skeeter’ asked Robson about her famous temper.

“Ah, yes,” says Laura, “I came runner-up at this tournament in Poland. They gave me a trophy but I was so angry I threw it on the floor and smashed it. I was so annoyed losing to this girl I didn’t think was good. Not one of my best moments.”

No. It’s not. And neither is this interview, which ends on another airheaded note.

What’s intriguing is the extent of her interest in fashion and glamour – not something normally associated with driven young female tennis prodigies. “I get so excited every Monday and Wednesay when Net-a-Porter send out their What’s New emails,” she says, “they light up my day.” Last year, Christopher Bailey invited her to visit the Burberry headquarters. “It was surreal, Emma Watson was on the walls and I was in awe,” she says, eyes shining. “I had to walk past a whole collection and I was just looking around thinking: “I want all of this.” Did they give you anything, I ask? “No, they didn’t, but I really want a trench coat, and those shoes I wore on the shoot.” Burberry’s Christopher Bailey is effusive about Laura: “it’s exciting that we have another great British tennis player who will fly the flag around the globe looking beautiful and playing with such grace.”

Is it possible, I wonder, to get to the top without a laser focus that won’t get distracted by a Burberry trench? The only real comparison is Anna Kournikova, who reached a world number-eight ranking, but is better known for making the cover of Sports Illustrated and FHM. For a 16-year-old kid, Laura Robson has a precocious understanding of the adult world and what she wants from it. Whether Laura makes it to world number one or not depends on whether she wants that or a brand-new Balenciaga bag more.

And ultimately, we come to my biggest problem with the writer and the interview – the same-old argument that God forbid(!) a woman should be fashionable and successful at the same time.

“The only real comparison is Anna Kournikova”?

First of all, plenty of successful, fashion-minded female players have made it to the top of the game without “getting distracted by a Burberry trench“. (Oh what foolish, easily-distracted creatures we are as women!) Serena, Venus certainly know their fasion – oh wait I forgot, they’re not blonde and they have muscles. They can’t possibly be prototypes for tennis fashionistas.

But what of Maria Sharapova, who won 3 slams by the age of 21? It’s a lot more than what you can say about 90% of the WTA and ATP tours. Sharapova’s tennis woes were never caused by the ‘distraction’ of her off-court shenanigans – unless New York Fashion Week was really where she injured her shoulders.

And lastly, at some point, the tennis world needs to stop with the subtle digs at Anna Kournikova. The woman had talent. Sure – not in obscene amounts like the Serena’s or Justine’s of the tour, but Anna K was – at one stage – 8th best in the world at what she does. How many of us can say that about our careers? You don’t get to diss Anna K this easily just because she has looks most of us mortals don’t possess and chose to flaunt it.

It’s not new, we see it all the time. But still, it angers me when women’s magazines keep enforcing the stereotypes many women out there struggle with on a day-to-day basis.

Sluts, whores, skanks, prudes, “grunting butch girls” and “Anna Kournikovas” all within a 3 page article? I’m canceling my subscription, Vogue.

xx doots

Down Under: It’s a love story, baby just say yes.

Don’t you wish you could switch places with Tommy’s diamond encrusted ball right now?

Don’t lie. Unless you’re saying you’d rather swap with Maz Jose’s, in which case I HEAR YA BROTHER/SISTER.

 

 

I had expected Spain to win, but not in the fashion that it did.

Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, my girl crush of the week, never quite found her form against a determined Laura Robson, surrendering to the match 6-1, 7-6 (8-6) to the 15 year-old World No. Godknowswhat.

After that, who expected Great Britain not to pull off a stunning victory? 

Disco Tom apparently.

Undaunted by the soon-to-be World No 5 even after losing the first set 1-6, Tommy Rob let completely loose and pulled off his biggest upset of late, outhitting Murray to break even with one win apiece, 1-6 6-4 6-3.

It was a slight choke by Mandy, who had allowed Tommy Rob very few looks on his serve until 4-all in the second set, when the momentum suddenly shifted and Robredo began to up his aggression in an alarming fashion.  To think I considered he was a toothless tiger…

And yes, Tommy really wanted Perth’s balls. Linesman didn’t want to give them.

 

 

With the final tie going into a decisive mixed doubles match, the Spaniards were at a distinct advantage given Maz’s doubles expertise. 

While the first set progressed into a tiebreak after a succession of service breaks, Britain gained itself 3 set points at 6-3. But it’s not over until Tommy Robredo sings. Muzz tensed up once more and shanked a routine backhand, before Robson was overpowered by Robredo’s forehand on the next two points.

MJMS then worked her doubles mojo for the minibreak and converted the set point with a crisp volley. 

Throughout the second set, MJMS and Disco Tom worked as a well-oiled machine, putting constant pressure on Loz Rob’s serve. The inevitable break of serve game at 6-5, with a Robredo return-of-serve winner. 

Man of the tournament.

 

 

I’m not saying anything.

 

 

Despite his loss, Mandy remained bullish about his Open chances. 

 

“I think I’m ready to win it. I just need to play well, if I do that then there’s no reason why I can’t,” Murray said.

“I feel like I’m serving well, moving well and playing the ball better than I have done for a long time in the back of the court and volleyed well this week. So there’s not a whole lot to complain about.”

“I’m sure if you ask (Roger) Federer how he’s feeling this week going into Australia after losing to (Nikolay) Davydenko (in Qatar), I’m pretty sure it’s not going to put a whole lot of doubts into his mind,” Murray said.

 

Lastly, a warm-fuzzy photo with the tournament Dowager, Mrs Hopman.

 

 

Gnawww, win/win.

xx doots

Down Under: STOP THIS BEFORE I FIND YOU CUTE.

 

Apparently, the bubbly Laura Robson has rubbed off on Mandy, who exhibited a rare smile on court as the British pair won their opening tie against Kazakhstan 2-1.

Laura opened up with a 3-set loss to JJ-killer Shvedova, but Murray make quick work of cutiepatootie Andrey Golubev to even the tie. The pair then went on to take their mixed doubles in a match tiebreak. 

 

 

What was surprising was the good rapport between Robson and Murray, as the pair joked throughout their mixed doubles match.

 

“It was around about 5-0 in the first set she asked me if I moisturise my hands,” Murray revealed.

“I was thinking she wasn’t taking this too seriously.”

At that point Robson interjected: “Have you seen his hands? They are pretty disgusting. It was a good question I thought.”

Robson also texted Murray earlier in the day to make sure their playing kits did not clash in the mixed doubles, with the Scot being told he had to change his planned attire.

“I was going to wear blue, green and white like I did in the (singles) match and then Laura said she had purple which clashed with blue. I had to change.”

 

I’ve never seen Muzzah so unmuzzah-like in an on-court interview. Pity he recycles his jokes.

 

“I’m going to blame her a little bit though because she started asking me if I moisturise my hands and I think maybe she lost her concentration just a little bit.

“But she’s only 15 so I’ll let her off. It was fun. She hit me on the back at one point – I don’t think I really deserved that… it was sore already because I was carrying her!”

Robson matched her senior partner in the banter department with a nice line in self-deprecation and responded with: “I’m kind of proud of my volleys in the tie-break, they’re the only ones I made!

“I will take out of the evening that I should work more on my serve and we should communicate more so that he doesn’t hit me!”

 

 

Okay no. It doesn’t work when it’s just him without the jailbait.

Good.

 

 

In other ties, Australia defeated the US of A today as Sam Stosur and Lleyton Hewitt both sealed their respective singles match against Oudin and Izzy in straight sets.

The pair was on course for the cleansweep in mixed doubles, as Stosur and Hewitt blitzed through the first set with their fabulous volleying techniques. But a lucky shank by Isner led to a break early in the second set. A complete change in momentum followed – Izzy found his doubles mojo and Melanie Oudin put her returning game into good use. The USA took the second set and dominated the match tiebreak to get their first victory in Perth.

Australia’s chances of making the final now depends very much on how Spain fares against Romania in their tie tonight.

Which basically translates to “we suck”.

xx doots

Down Under: Perth, I want your balls.

It’s Hopman Cup time, the tournament with diamond encrusted balls. One step closer to these prized trophies are Romania and Spain, having won their ties against Australia and the US of A respectively over the weekend. 

 

 

I remember going to a local stand-up comedy show a few years back. When the comedian brought up the name “Lleyton Hewitt”, the crowd booed. If we can’t find some love for him here in Aus, then what hope is there for Hewitt overseas? 

Fast-forward a few years and the Hewitt-hating normality I’ve come to know and love is crashing down on me. Instead of suing the ATP, making homophobic remarks and playing mind games with his opponents, Lleyton Hewitt has somewhat grown up.

These days, he seems to be more willing to spend his time investing in online retail stores, making babies with Bec, and generally doing inoffensive things such as milking what’s left of his career for all its worth.

And in all honesty, he doesn’t have to. No one’s stopping him from riding off into the retirement sunset a la Marat Safin. Perhaps we don’t give him enough credit for … actually loving this sport?

 

 

Unlike his compatriot Sam Stosur, Hewitt started his year with a win over Victor Hanescu in a dramatic third set tiebreak.

All credit to Hanescu, who served big, mixed in drop shots and volleys to make Hewitt run around like a rabbit. But Lleyton wouldn’t be Lleyton if he didn’t battle every match to the end of time. With Hanescu cramping and the Perth crowd fired up, there was only one result to expect. 

Romania however could depend on Sorana Cirstea to seal the tie. Not a fan of the Racoon eye make-up and slappy forehand, but you gotta admire the guts and fight from the girl. Looking done and dusted half way through the second set of her singles match, Cirstea took full advantage of a slight falter by Stosur, pumped herself up and took control of a match she had no business winning. 

Top 20 by the end of the year?

 

 

Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE?

I’m sure you’ll understand my newfound love for the girl, having missed her match against Serena at Roland Garros last year, it was my first time watching her.

And why wouldn’t you love her game? Beautiful service motion, one of the rare non-spastic ball tosses on the WTA tour. She’s an intelligent player with a good sense of knowing when to stay in the rally,  and when to move forward and unleash her array of doubles-savvy volleys on her opponents.

You don’t get a lot of players like her on the women’s tour these days. A breath of fresh air, as one might say. 

Is it any wonder then that MJMS and Tommy Robredo teamed up to defeat Oudin and Mr Chubby Sex?

Izzy, I love you. But you know you can’t serve at 77% and still lose the match, right? It’s a crime for someone with a serve like yours to volley that floppily. 

 

 

As Romania and Spain kicked off their quest for Perth’s balls, all the teams turned up to attend the annual Hopman Cup ball. Lena D looks beautifully bland, as always. 

 

 

Sabine hadn’t realised Halloween was almost 3 months ago.

 

 

I keep a mental list of players who are either of the same height or shorter than me. Melanie Oudin belongs in the former category. Kimiko Date Krumm in the latter. 

John Isner belongs in neither.

 

 

Sorana. Beautiful.

 

 

When I was 15, I was still waiting for boobs to arrive. Frick you. 

 

 

Shave. Wear a tie. Tuck your shirt in. And stop looking like a hobo.

 

 

Tommy Rob shows Mandy how it’s done. 

 

 

Sammy. Aww. Sammy. 

 

 

Lleyton and new coach Nathan Healy.

 

 

What I wouldn’t give to be in Perth right now … 

Shrimp on the barbie?

Looks like the good folks of Western Australia will be tossing plenty of shrimp on the barbie this summer, with an absolute kick-arse field headed for the Hopman Cup 2010.

 

 

As if the combined attraction of Stosur/Hewitt wasn’t enough in this country, so far four other teams have been confirmed with Dementieva/Andreev representing Russia. Snow White and his dwarfette are teaming up for USA.

And today, the organisers announced the attendance of Lisicki and Kohlschreiber for Germany, and Cirstea/Hanescu as Romania’s first entry in the tournament. 

Likey likey.

 

And what’s this I hear about a possible Murray/Robson collaboration?

Tennis in my time zone. Oh yeth …