Okay, so I’m a little less pissed and more coherent than I was on Sunday morning, but I’m still perplexed…like most of you… with the Tennistical Fuckery that was the Swiss Davis Cup campaign over the weeked.
So the last time we left the Swiss Davis cup team, they were doing this…
We were all celebrating the fact that Stan the Man finally grew some Davis Cup cajones and we were all looking forward to a possible run by the Swiss at the big prize this year. On paper it looked like a given, the US on slow clay AT home, in Swissyland…perfect right? Uh…not so much.
Of course most of us dismissed the actual stats. Mardy Fish ranked 8, John Isner, 17. Mike Bryan, one half of the world’s number 1 doubles team. But don’t worry…the yanks are shit on slow clay…so we thought. Nevermind that John Isner was the first person ever to take Rafa to 5 sets at Roland Garros…oh no…but that was a total fluke right?
yah…these guys thought so too…
And you know what? maybe a little too much fun. When Fed came out in the pre-tie presser saying win or lose he’s happy just to be with the boys something went uh-oh in my head. It almost seemed like the Swiss were a little laissez faire going into the weekend.
So in the making of the perfect example of why Davis Cup is about team depth and Captaincy, the US team came in well prepared, and hungry…hungry to WIN. Although his suit wasn’t to the levels of Swiss snappiness, Captain Jim Courier was all levels of business. He had ONE job to do this weekend…and it was to win.
In the first rubber, Wawrinka and Fish dueled in a 5 set fest of sloppy tennis and chokeage. Up 2 sets to 1, Wawrinka collapsed in the 4th, giving Fish all the momentum in the 5th. Wawrinka played mostly reactive tennis, reacting to Fish’s kick serve and reacting to the pummeling of his backhand. When he broke back late in the 5th, he did so with 3 crosscourt FH winners…a shot that he basically shied away from the entire match…and thus we had this…
Yeah, if i came across this dude in a dark alley, you better be believin’ I’d be running for my life. After winning a tight but manageable 1st set where Isner was broken early, Fed get’s broken in the 2nd set after Isner hits 3 screaming winners off Fed’s wide serves. And soon the issues with the court were getting obvious.
At 2000m above sea level, the court in Fribourg was making the ball bounce high but the clay itself wasn’t slow enough. It gave ample trouble to both the 1-handed backhands of Wawrinka and Federer, but it gave just enough time for the likes of Isner to pound his groundstrokes.
I decided to sleep after the 2nd set (at this point I’d been up for 21 hours) and woke up to a 4 set loss. A result I entirely expected. It had the hallmarks of the Soderling match at FO2010, Federer was given no riddum to work with and Isner was teeing off on his serves and groundstrokes.
Also Fed was pissed at the bad bounces on the court. I thought the court at Royal Sydney was bad but obviously the guys at Fribourg took a page out of the same book. And when Fed is frustrated…the results usually aren’t good. Frankly I should start betting on tennis since I’m doing quite a good job of predicting final results after the 2nd set.
So fuck…yeah, the Swiss go into the doubles 0-2 down. Now after watching Federinka at Royal Sydney last year, I was not impressed. People harp on about how they won the Oympics yadda yadda yadda…Folks…that was FOUR FUCKING YEARS AGO….and it was best of 3 (bar the final)
Again like at Royal Sydney, Federinka comes out guns blasting and win the 1st set. But soon in the 2nd, the wheels start falling off. The silly errors start and they stop communicating. Against a Bryan and a prettty good dubs player himself, Fish, you just can’t afford to be that shite.
I’m not going to go as far to say the Olympics gold was a little flukey, but as a pair, these guys are just not best of 5 quality. And possibly because they’re usually gassed after their singles rubbers on day 1. But at times both had some mind blowingly FACEPALM-worthy errors in the match.
So anyway, USA go on to sweep the tie 5-0 (Lammer and Chiudi fought bravely but alas)…here’s some manlove…
Kudos to Courier for coming in with the perfect gameplan (To not let Roger Federer play tennis supposedly) and kudos to his team, especially Isner for executing the plan perfectly. I don’t like playing blame games but a few big things let the Swiss down in this tie:
- The court and location shot the Swiss in the foot
- Lack of focus, authority and gameplan exerted by Severin Luthi
- Lack of focus and cajones from Wawrinka.
- Lack of fight and refocus from a one Roger Federer, after tight 3rd set losses, happened in Australia and happens here again against Isner.
I never thought this tie would have been a easy gimme for the Swiss like some media outlets said. But had Wawrinka won the first rubber, Isner would not have had as much freedom to swing as freely as he did. And we could have woken up today to a 3-2 win by the Swiss. But this is how close tennis gets…a few games here and there late in the 5th set decides everything.
So yeah, I was pissed…and angry…albeit mostly for selfish reasons really. I stayed up almost 21 hours to see both 1st day singles rubbers, I paid 10 bucks for the ITF stream for the weekend and FUCK…I expected more from the Swiss team…
…but hey, we all have our bad days right?
…but promise to try harder next time alright?
P.S. How ahmazing are Swiss Tennis crowds? I will forever cherish the sound of a GIANT cowbell…
Apologies for the lack of updates lately: I do so want to partay like it’s 1999 and have Roger Federer punch me in the ovaries with his deliciousness, but your Webmistress has been soundly defeated by a bout of flu and Tony Abbott-induced electoral rage, and is currently confined to bed with Federbear for cuddles.
I do however bring y’all Swiss doughnuts with white candy crosses to celebrate Squishy’s most recent win, HURRAH!
So here’s the deal:
Was it the cleanest of matches? Was it the best I’ve seen him play – as well as I know he can play? Of course not. In fact, in both the final and the semifinal against Baghdatis, Roger Federer returned badly, let his opponents off on their second serves, hit some shots akin to approach shots that were either some kind of failed “experimentation” or just … really, bad approach shots.
But that’s not the point.
The point is: he won, and he didn’t need his best tennis to win. We couldn’t say that in Indian Wells or Miami, where every match seemed to require a whole lotta digging deep into the depth of his soul. We couldn’t say that during the clay season, when every break point lasted for an eternity and the mofo had no mojo. And Wimbledon? Don’t get me started.
Looking back on the US Open series, a final and a title gives Roger Federer the best combined result in the top 4, not bad for an old geezer who has lost motivation, with his career “in crisis” and his brain turned into baby food.
The retirement and walk-over he got at the start of the week most likely helped, but the wins he scored, over Berdych and Djokovic, Baghdatis, Davydenko and Fish were morale boosting. They say revenge is a dish best served cold, I don’t care how it’s served, as long as Roger Federer serves it.
More doughnuts anyone?
1. There were two Roger Federers on court today in Miami. Citrus Fed – fresh, tangy, reeling off backhand winners and serving smoothly.
And then there was Federpumpkin, framing balls high into the air and setting up points beautifully before netting the final blow. Oh Ferd, turd is still turd, dressed in orange or not.
Luckily for us, there was more citrus and less pumpkin at the end of the day, and Fed came through smoothly against Lapanties, 6-3 6-3.
I thought the ball was flying quite a bit actually, which I was sort of surprised about, because in the practices I thought it was always very sort of humid and it was hard to get something out of the ball.
All of a sudden I was trying to generate pace on the ball and the thing would fly off my racquet like I couldn’t believe. So I had to play a bit more safe and not go for at lines as much.
All of a sudden the court becomes this big, you know. It’s tricky, but tried a few different things on the return as well. But when you start doing that, that also makes you a bit unsure.
And I think today I came through because I served very well. I had a good start into basically all my service games. I always knew I was gonna have a couple of chances at least on the return games.
I was able to have a good record on breakpoint conversions, and I think that’s what won me the match today.
2. While Roger was able to rely – ironically – on his breakpoint conversion and citrus backhands to come through, there was no such luck for Mandy.
After claiming Roger’s scalp in Indian Wells a couple of years back, Farty Dish struck again – this time, dispatching Murray in straight sets, 6-4 6-4.
From what I saw of the match with hindsight, Mandy looked rather subdued, sending loopy balls over the net which Farty punished with aggression.
Farty’s win ensured Rafa a No 3 spot post-Miami, within striking distance of Nole. But for Murray, he finds himself back at No 4 and in a rough patch.
Last week was poor, too. You know, it’s not been great since Australia.
You know, I need to needed to find a way to get round it, and I’m sure I will. I’ve gone through bad patches before, and I just need to practice hard, work hard, and get stronger. I’m sure I’ll start playing better again.
But the last few weeks haven’t been the best.
Q. Do you think a change of surface, especially on the clay, might actually be what you need now, a switch of direction?
No. I think it’s just I need to get my mind right; I need to get focused again. You know, when I do that, my game will get better again. That’s for sure.
Q. Any reason why it goes away? I mean, is it frustrating?
No, I don’t know. That’s something I need to sort out myself. It’s purely down to me, what goes on inside my head. No one else can, you know, make that better or change it, you know. You need to do that yourself.
Doesn’t matter how well you practice. You know, you need to be tough in the matches. I need to get better, you know, mentally, because since Australia where I was great in all of the matches, I’ve been poor.
For Roger, Nole and Mandy’s loss provided him reasons to be happy. Not only has he secured the No 1 spot until Roland Garros, he’s also found some satisfaction in the success of an old pal.
“Mardy Fish, he beat me at Indian Wells once handily. He’s a dangerous player. You always know he can create an upset.
But at the same time, Murray is defending champion here. I didn’t expect any upsets from, you know, Fish or Rochus, but both been able to do it.
Rochus I’m obviously extremely happy. I won junior Wimbledon doubles with him, so we go way back.“
For those secretly hoping that Fed will take a last-minute wild card into Monte Carlo, it doesn’t seem very likely.
Q. You don’t play Monte Carlo, but you will play Estoril. It will be three tournaments a row Rome, Estoril, and Madrid. Any special reason for that?
ROGER FEDERER: I always look at the schedule, what’s the best preparation for the French Open? What am I in the mood to do? What am I in the mood to play?
Monaco is not a mandatory event anymore. It gives us a bit of an option. Of course, there’s a lot of points there to go get, but it’s really early in the season.
It’s too early for me, and I also want to have some vacation, you know, after a long trip here in the States so I’m really fresh for the long trip really from Rome until Wimbledon.
It’s a long one, and I want to be refreshed till the very end of Wimbledon, you know, not that I get tired midway or something, so I need to plan clever and healthy. I believe that this is the right schedule this year.
Tis a pity. Apart from being a points-bonanza, Monte Carlos also happens to be my favourite clay court tournament, now most likely unattended by my favourite player.
On the women’s side of things, Kuzzy sailed past Agi Szavay with surprising ease, while Ana Ivano could do no more than push Aga in a 57 57 loss. Other seeds, Wickmayer (def Martic), Bartoli (def Dulko) and Hantuchova (def Petrova) all came through in straight sets, while Venus – sporting a corset inspired bodycon dress – dispatched Roberta Vinci with vehemence – 61 64 – despite struggling a little with her serve.
With Serena out of the picture, is it too early to start looking at the other Williams?
With so little tennis to inspire me, it’s time for a bit of fluff with some baby photos I’ve collected over the years of tennis players. Sorry about the size and quality of some of these, baby photos are hard to come by!
Guess who these cuties grew up to be? Go on! You know you want to.
Answers at the bottom 😀
4. the left hand kinda gives it away.
6. she looks the same, no?
8. sorry about the size of this
9. … and this too
10. You know who this is. Sure you do.
11. Mommy gave me a bowl cut …
13. tongue in cheek!
20. Oh, you dork.
21. Is it a little mean to follow the photo above with this photo?
22. Guess who looks exactly the same?
26. the most photogenic kid EVER?
A few more of him, because I love this little guy. He makes me want to get preggers right now, and have super-gorgeous kids just like him.
So how many did you guess right? The answers:
1 + 2: Safin and Safina;
5: del Potro
15 + 16: Andy and Jamie Murray
17 + 18: Nalbandian and Coria
24: Zheng Jie
Did you suck as much as I did? Or do you have a good eye for these kinds of things? Did cutiepie Stan make you fall in love with him just a little more? Admit it! You totally want to pinch his cheeks until they look like two swollen tomatoes.
Credit to the women’s tennis blog for some of the girls’ photos
Excuse the Bananarama, and allow me to yell once and for all – “long live Goddess Venus”! As some of you may know, the Williamses were among my first loves in tennis, but over the years, things have faded a little between us. Right now though, I’m feeling an inexplicable surge for affection for Venus and Serena. There’s nothing like watching a beatdown by one of your favourite WTA players on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Never mind that she started the week looking very shaky on a new surface, in the semifinal and in the final against Pennetta, Venus was all groove and no funk. Now I know she’s not really known for her clay court prowess, and I certainly don’t want to jinx her this early in the season, but a non-grass slam – it’s gotta happen somewhere, right? And just look at her competitors.
While we’re on this “Goddess” theme, Venus’s dress (appropriately named the “Goddess Dress”) which she has been wearing since Wimbledon last year, is finally ready for fashion retirement. Don’t get me wrong, I floved the dress in all its colour variations, but it’s been almost 8 months and 3 grand slams, I think that’s frankly too much wear for a single design. Bring on something new, please?
In other news, Djokovic fans should all lighten up – their guy has taken the Dubai title in straight sets, playing the best tennis I’ve seen him play in a long, long time. That ought to give him plenty of confidence going into IW. But not before he faces the Clay Monster on clay for the Davis Cup. Oh yeth….
On the men’s side of things in the Mexican Open, Amalgro has taken out Monfils in the final. Didn’t watch the match, and frankly – didn’t care. As if the clay season isn’t long and dreaded enough as it is, we have to start getting “tasters” from late February. Urgh.
In Delray Beach, Mardy Fish and Evgeny Korolev, better known to some as Anna Kournikova’s cousin, or simply to me as the-guy-on-the-other-side-of-the-net-during-this-point, are headed for a showdown in the finals. Having only seen Korolev play once, and that time being against Roger Federer, I know this guy only as one of the best ball-bashers on tour. Does he have what it takes against Mardy Fish, the game’s best answer to S&V? Me think not. But it should be a nice style contrast.
For some off-court goss – all hail the weird Polish lady on youtube, who’s making me reconsider my choices in life, in particular my choice of career – the life of a professional stalker seems to be terribly exciting. But seriously, it’s so nice to have someone bring in news of how Sharapova’s doing with her rehabilitation, since her camp has been deathly silent on the matter, except for a few diplomatic “doodles” on her website. Weird Polish Lady, if you’re reading this, can you fly over to Dubai with your camera?
Lastly, I’ve been working on my youtube account this week, reuploaded my MV, put up a peek at Baby Federer, the “baby’s bottom” half volley he did whilst trouncing Del Potro, and a compilation of his overheads counter-punch. Oh yeth…
Caroline Wozniacki became the second player this week to avenge her Melbourne loss by defeating, wait – make that pulverising, Jelena Dokic in straight sets, 61 62. She followed up this victory with a 61 76(1) dismissal of Bremond. Nice work Woz. I was a little concerned last week after her early exit, but perhaps it was just a routine case of WTA neurosis.
On the topic of WTA neurosis, at least JJ had the audacity to be embarrassed about her 62 75 loss to Kaia Kanepi. But give your opponent more credit JJ, it’s not all about yourself. I like your dress though.
“This was the worst match of my career. It was a horrible day. I kept framing the ball, kept making unforced errors, and could not put two balls together on court. I didn’t move properly, and I didn’t see the ball properly,” said [JJ].
“She didn’t have to do too much. Basically I beat myself. I don’t know what happened out there. I am ashamed of this performance.”
Image from tennis.com
Aside from JJ, all the other top seeds seem to be doing fine, even the mercurial Miss Ivanovic, who scored a win over lucky loser Camille Pin in Dubai today/yesterday. Should Serena and Venus both win their next matches (against Ivanovic and Dementieva), we’d be on track for another siblings showdown after one earlier this week between Radwanska and … well, Radwanska. Hoorah!
On the men’s side, boring boring boring – Djokovic, Tsonga, Lopez, Youzhny all through. In Memphis, it’s been a good day for the Americans, with Ginepri, Querrey, and Fish through as well. The Worm also continues to squirm his way through the draws, umm – someone stop him? Sorry Worm fans, but the guy’s like a over-excited mutant left over by the dying generation of S&Vers. We need an upset on the men’s side of things. Or maybe another Djokovic v Tsonga showdown. Oooh yeth….
In other news, speculations (and this is indeed pure speculation) that Federer could be interested in working with Darren Cahill. Of course, rumours have been around for years that the Fed’s after Cahill, but it just so happens that Cahill has left his coaching position on the Australian Davis Cup team, but believes he’ll “probably get back to coaching again at some point”. That’s all there is to it really. I suppose Fedophiles like myself are desperate for news these days. Where is the world is Roger Federer?
It’s always the same pattern: When Roger Federer has to recover from exhaustion or get to terms with disappointment, he vanishes. He might hit the beach in Dubai or on the Maledives, like after the Masters Cup in 2008. Last year after the AO the Californian megacity Los Angeles was his secret holiday destination.
But he also disappears in Switzerland in between. He plays cards with mates in Basel, skis in Lenzerheide or turns up at a barbecue on Lake Zurich. If, however you do not happen to run into him or get a tip, you will as likely find Roger Federer as the elusive Bernstein Room: not at all.
Why is that? Federer does not want any media attention in between tennis events, and rigorously protects his privacy. And he is very clear about this to his company and acquaintances. If you do not respect this, you fall from his grace. His girlfriend Mirka Vavrinec, his parents, his fitness coach Pierre Paganini, his physio Gary Hamilton, his coach Severin Lüthi and his media-assistant Géraldine Dondit will stay mum – about anything.
The likeable Paganini will talk casually about how to get fit, but not about how Federer gets fit. You can also have a friendly chat with Lüthi about all the world and his brother. Regarding Roger, almost everything is censored – to an extent that borders on the absurd. The coach must not even let you know when training starts. Information is so scarce that even the most everyday announcements are traded like sensations.
His pals clearly become uncomfortable if they are expected to talk about the star. They act as if they were negotiating a minefield. Whatever Federer does not want to tell himself has to be question-marked.
This also goes for his whereabouts. So only a handful of people know where he is moving, which flight he is taking to which destination. “Sometimes Mirka and I will slip away for a month, and nobody knows where we are”, says Federer. “And that’s exactly how I want it.”
English Translation: fhol on RF.com
It’s all very James Bond and the secret service isn’t it? The name’s Federer. Roger Federer.
- Rafa def Monfils 64 64
- Murray def Ancic 61 62
“Ohhh yeth”. This is the match that I felt we were denied of at the Australian Open this year. Mind you, the semifinal that we did get more than made up for it. But Rafa v Murray match ups intrigue me more than Fed v Murray match ups right now, simply because we haven’t had a whole lot of them, so this is definitely one that I’ll be watching out for.
Over in San Jose, it’s been a pleasure watching the impeccable form of Mardy Fish over the last two matches. I only saw parts of his destruction of Del Potro, but when your guy starts serving aces left right and centre, and plays like he’s the guy ranked inside the top 10, the end result is a foregone conclusion. What I didn’t expect however was his easy dispatching of James Blake, 63 62. Let’s hope some of this form carries over to Indian Wells where he’ll be defending a final. “Oh yeth.”
In the beautiful city of Paris, MoMo is the first one through to the finals after defeating Jankovic 62 06 61. I’ve long put Amelie Mauresmo in the same basket as Safin, Nalbandian and Gasquet – the “tortured artists” best admired and then forgotten for my peace of mind, but it’s Jankovic that I want to talk a little more about. This time last year, the 3 ‘vics of Serbia looked like they had tennis glory within their grasp. 12 months later, the same trio looks like they belong in the bottom half of the Top 10 (or in the case of Ana Ivanovic – not even). Where is this funk coming from? Snap out of it folks.
The other semifinal in Paris, Dementieva vs Williams, spells deliciousness. Oh yeth.
Other results: Pattaya City, Thailand – Mirza through to the final, to play the winner of Zvonareva and Peer.
Costa Do Saupe, Brazil: Bellucci (aka the guy who won more games against Rafael Nadal than Roger Federer at the French Open last year) to play Robredo in the final.
Just goes to show how much more emotionally invested in the ATP I am compared to the WTA. What a year it’s been, and I’ve decided to separate it into different posts. So here’s the first one, matches of the year. And a little disclaimer before I start – neutrality has no place on blogs, so feel free to disagree/agree with my terribly biased opinions.
Match of the Year
Do I need to spell this one out? Can anyone really pick another match other than this one? No, I’m seriously not going to mention it by name, if you can’t figure out which match I’m referring to, there’s something wrong with you. Not only did it have high quality tennis, Shakespearean rain delays/acts of divine intervention, and two players who both epitomise what the Wimbledon Champion should be like, but it was also a watershed moment in 2008. The man who won would go on to take over the World No 1 in a month’s time, but really, the moment he reached for the trophy at SW19, he already was the unofficial no 1.
That’s probably as much as I’m going to write about THE match, though I think it deserves many posts solely dedicated to it, I do feel that it’s been theorised enough already, and frankly, I’m still too traumatized by match to talk at length about it (I have the HD version of the match on my computer, and it’s ZIPPED with the password “cardigan”. Maybe one day in 10 years time, I’ll meet a stranger at a pub, or on public transport, and smilingly nod when he/she asks me if I remember this match, but for now, to quote Federer “it hurt”, and it still hurts).
But one last thing I will say about this match was something that came up when I was talking to a friend of mine (also a tennis fan) the other day – what would’ve happened in an alternative universe, if Federer had won the match? 1) it would have been the best come back in the history of tennis. 2) as Federer fans, we would’ve all been a happier bunch. 3) Federer probably could have held on to his no 1 spot instead of subjecting us to his existential crisis from after Wimbledon right through to the doubles gold in Beijing. But think about the other side for a moment – Rafael Nadal would have been the imploder who served for the match, double faulted, and lost in 5 sets. If you remember Nadal’s face after the 2007 final, you would not wish that on him. You would not wish that on anyone. So maybe it was only fitting that Federer be the warrior who “almost” came back from a 2 set deficit than Rafa the imploder who double faulted and lost perhaps his last/only (I hope not) chance to beat Federer on grass.
Non-“The Match That Shall Not be Mentioned” – Matches of the Year
Because The Match was so significant that it just overshadowed every other match, let’s take that aside for a second. The non-“Match” matches of the year (the ones I’ve watched anyway) are –
Best of Five
- Gasquet v Murray Wimbledon: what can you do about Richard Gasquet, on the one hand, I give Murray full credit for coming back from a 2 set deficit, but on the other, it is so Gasquet to lose the match after being up two sets and so close to victory. From another perspective, both Gasquet and Murray (until recently) were at the time, what I would call “the tortured artists”, exceptionally talented, but with the mental fortitude of a stick insect. But since that match, how their lives have diverged – Murray’s gone on to establish himself as a strong contender at major tournaments, and Gasquet ended his year miserably titleless, and injured. *sigh* Had it not been for THE match, this would’ve been match of the year for me.
- Federer v Tipsarevic Australian Open: Tipsarevic came out of nowhere to push Federer to the absolute extreme, and he did play some phenomenal tennis. Federer had some brain dead moments too during the match that probably cost him in the first 3 sets, but once Tipsarevic took that 2-1 lead, Federer clicked into that extra gear, and didn’t give Tipsy much of a chance in any more of his service games. And the game where he broke at 8 all in the fifth was just sheer brilliance, from both ends of the court. Yet (and maybe I’m only speaking from hindsight), there was this ominous feeling after this match, that perhaps, the 10 finals in a row streak was about to end, and that perhaps something else is wrong.
- Federer v Andreev US Open: I’ve still only watched half the match (downloaded to 90%), and from what I’ve seen so far, lots of unforced errors from Federer, but he wasn’t playing badly, Andreev was just playing the best tennis I’ve ever seen him play. I was scoreboarding the match during Constitutional Law, needless to say I didn’t hear a single thing about executive powers, all I heard was the buzzing in my ear from the general lack of oxygen. To add to the drama, I always thought New York was the last city to really warm to Federer, clearly I was wrong. Years of service from Federer was repaid with interest by New Yorkers at the US Open this year, and that was beautiful to see. Can we do the same down here in Melbourne for Australian Open 09? To be really sick and quote everyone’s favourite politician right now – “YES WE CAN!”
- Nishikori v Ferrer US Open: I’ve still not seen the entire match either, plan to download in its entirety during the off-season. Ferrer I’ve always liked for his speed and doggedness, there are those who possess incredible talent, but only make use of a fraction of it (Gasquet, Safin), and then there are those who you wonder how on earth they even made it into the top 10, let alone top 4 for Ferrer at some point this year. But that is because Ferrer made 110% of the talent he does have. As much as I love Nishikori, I did feel quite bad for Ferru after the match. And how about Nishikori, I think we finally have a promising young talent from Asia. All hail Special K!
- Haas v Gasquet US Open: REESHIE! *tears chunks of hair out* But this is another match between two “tortured artists” who really could’ve accomplished more in their careers with the talent they possess. I haven’t quite given up on Gasquet though, and I won’t until he gets to the age of 25 at least.
- Those that never made it to five sets: who says you have to make it to 5 sets for it to be a fabulous match? matches I loved this year include – Gulbis v Roddick US Open, Federer v Gonzalez Roland Garros, Federer v Monfils Roland Garros, Nadal v Murray US Open, Djokovic v Federer US Open, Murray v del Potro US Open
Best of Three
- Federer v Murray Masters Cup: it’s still fresh on everyone’s mind, so it suffices to say that I think it’s “the” best of 3 match of the year.
- Before the Federer-Murray match, I thought the best of 3 match of the year was Nadal v Simon Madrid, again – the sheer drama, the Spanish fans, the unfreakingbelievable shots Simon was pulling off that had me pointing at my computer screen screaming “GET OUTTA HEYAAAA!” I finished the match at 4am AEST, that’s how enraptured I was.
- Nadal v Djokovic Hamburg – it’s funny to think that Nadal is now safely in command of the No 1 spot when way back in May, he was one match away from dropping to no 3 (the position Federer, to my dismay, is in right now). Again, only watched bits of the match but it looked like high quality stuff, many thought it was the best match so far at that point in the year, until it was outdone by the match a day later.
- Federer v Nadal Hamburg – aka the match next day – Federer shouldn’t lost the first set, but he did. Nadal shouldn’t lost the second, but he did. Therein lies the drama of this match, plus this match conned me into a false sense of security that the Roland Garros final was going to be a competitive match, until Nadal showed up in Clay Monster mode and Federer showed up… well Federer never really showed up.
- Roddick DEF Federer Miami – Roddick’s had a pretty disappointing year even by his own standards. But he can walk away from this year thinking “hey, I WON ANOTHER MATCH AGAINST FEDERER”. That almost counts as a grand slam in Roddick’s books these days right? Given that it was not long after Dubai (where Roddick beat both Nadal and Djokovic), there was every reason at that point in the year to think that Roddick was going to be relevant again. Until he lost to Davydenko the next day that is. Don’t you miss the days when Andy Roddick was making grand slam semis and finals, coming up with some classic presscons and acceptance speeches along the way?
- Federer v Nalbandian Monte Carlo – both players played out of their mind, and Federer prevailed in 3 sets, but that was the sharpest Federer had looked since the Australian Open. In fact, it was positively TMF/JesusFed. I had my doubts coming into the match, I hit the panick button half way through, and I ended the match back to being the Zen Master that I really am. Kool-Aid Drinker? Me? Never!
- And that sinkin’ feelin’ continues…I don’t want to remind everyone but just think of what we had to live through this year – Fed the Dead v Simon Pt 1/Pt 2, Fed the Dead v Ginepri Cincinatti, Fed the Dead v Murray Dubai, Fed the Dead v Mardy-Fish-who-rhymes-with-Dish Indian Wells, Fed the Dead v Blake Beijing, Fed the inexplicable vs Stepanek the Worm in Rome, Fed the inexplicable vs Karlovic Cincinatti. The only thing I can say about that sinkin’ feelin’ is that old sayin’ – “what doesn’t kill ya makes ya strongaaaa”
- Non-Masters Matches deserving of a mention: Cilic v Fish New Haven (Marin wins his first title, and I hopped on the bandwagon); del Potro v Gasquet Stuttgaard (del Potro started on his four titles streak, I lose more of my hair over Richard Gasquet); Kei Nishikori v James Blake Delray Beach (Kei wins his first title at the expense of my second favourite forehand in the game)