Sometimes, a mighty, barf-inducing PICSPAM is the only appropriate thing to do. So indulge me, if you could, in a simple game of Yes/No, Yay/Nay, Oui/Non … UNF/URGH!
Well, they say a picture paints a thousand words, so I shall say no more. It’s Miami, it’s tennistical, and IT IS A FASHION-DISASTUHHHH.
Isn’t it refreshing when a teenager dresses like a teenager? Did Laura Robson get the memo?
Hello, I am Sweet Caroline and I just crawled out of a cabbage patch.
First and last time I’ll say this about Ferrer…
Just the clothes. I swear.
(Watermarked photos courtesy of Tennis Panorama)
It ain’t US Open time until you see the lame Youtube ads. Here are this year’s selection.
Roger Federer. Wearing pants.
Oh well, nothing a little imagination can’t fix.
Meanwhile, Rafa went all SPANISH Masterchef on us.
Umm. He tried.
And the girls, of course. Caroline Wozniacki. (Is it just me or has she gained a lot of weight?)
Did I put Bob and Mike under “the girls, of course”? Oops.
I love Venus. That is all.
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.
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”.
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.
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 …
If you didn’t see Clijsters v Henin, you have just missed out on one of the most incredible, dramatic matches of the last 3 years.
SHAME ON YOU!
Order of Play
- Stanislas WAWRINKA vs Marin CILIC
- Marc GICQUEL/Jeremy CHARDY vs Leander PAES/Lukas DLOUHY
- Radek STEPANEK vs Andy RODDICK
As much as I like to complain about all the big names dropping out of the tournament like horse shit, one of the benefits of having some of the lesser known players hang around is that you get to find out a little more about them. Turns out that the old truism ‘everybody has a story‘ still rings … true.
Yanina Wickmayer survived a close one today against Dina-slayer Petra Kvitova, prevailing 46 64 75 to reach her first ever grand slam quarterfinal. As a result, I found myself reading the transcripts of her press conference for the first time.
It seems that for many members of the press, it was their first time interviewing the Belgian too. When asked about why her English was so good, Yanina revealed that she had spent 3 years in Tampa after her mother died of cancer when she was nine.
“I went there when I was nine. I lost my mom when I was nine. I wanted to get away from home. I loved playing tennis.
“I was actually only playing for half a year. So I really enjoyed it, but just wanted to get away from home and do other stuff, be around other people. That’s why we left.”
Wickmayer admitted that it was a mature decision for her age at the time, but it was a decision made easier by the reaction of her father.
“I have to admire him for giving up everything he had. He gave up his job. He gave up his friends. Yeah, he gave up the house, his cars, and we just left.
Yeah, he put his whole life, yeah, in point of me, so I respect him for that. Everything I have now is a little bit because of him just because, yeah, he trusted me. He wanted to make me happy no matter what.
I guess he always believed in me. He always supported me. Even when I had some few tough years, I didn’t get through well, but he always been there next to me and supported me.
Yeah, he’s a great guy.”
He certainly sounds like a great guy. Tennis dads take note! Papa Wickmayer’s decision to leave Belgium had nothing to do with a gamble on his daughter’s career.
“…he didn’t leave everything because he expected me to be a champion. Actually he just left everything to make me happy. I guess that’s a whole lot of difference.
When I was nine, I wasn’t even I loved playing tennis, but I never thought I was going to be a professional and do this every day. I still went to school when I was nine. I was just a little girl enjoying playing.
I guess every year I kept on playing. I loved it a little more and I got a little better. That’s how the story goes.
But he gave up everything just to make his little girl happy, not to make her a tennis champion.”
Tennis isn’t all about the Serenas and the Sharapovas of this world. Sometimes, it’s just as heartwarming to get to know a little more about that Belgian girl who’s neither the one, nor the other.
A tissue for you softies?
[Wickmayer plays Kateryna Bondarenko next for a spot in the semis, after the KBond destroyed Gisela Dulko with a double bagel.]
The Russian Roulette keeps firing, as Melanie completes another Oudini escape from the jaws of defeat, outlasting Petrova 1-6, 7-6 (2), 6-3.
So here’s the deal with this kid – she’s no Justine Henin. Just because someone doesn’t play big babe tennis, doesn’t mean that she’s an Henin or a Hingis. Melanie Oudin is neither, a better comparison is probably Lleyton Hewitt. Like Lleyton, she’s a little babe trying to play big babe tennis, and in doing so, outlasting her bigger, stronger opponents with sheer belief and a terrier-like mentality.
Because there’s already been enough Oudin-worshipping going on, for the sake of being a contrarian, I’ll point out that to a large extent, her last 3 opponents gifted her the match with their neuroses.
Essentially that’s one of the many problems with women’s tennis these days – too often, it’s about outlasting the other player rather than outclassing her. Each player seems to have a ‘dark place’ with a tendency to go there when they’re moments away from victory.
Still, I won’t pretend that there isn’t something oddly inspiring, and oddly “American” about seeing a teenager defy all odds against her (frankly) more talented, more experienced opponents. This is a kid that speaks with exclamation marks, plays through tears and with gusto, writes the word “Believe” on her sorbet coloured shoes and talks about having a dream.
Gimmicky? Yes. Endearing? Hell yes. Once upon a time, I too spoke in exclamation marks, and had a preference for sorbet colours and corny mantras. Didn’t we all? She may not be the most talented youngster out there, but something about Melanie Oudin resonates with the country, and indeed the tennis world.
Not sure that I’m on the bandwagon just yet, but we just might get there one day.
Melanie Oudin faces Caroline Wozniacki next match, who pushed past Sveta Kuznetsova. And I mean pushed. Caroline is a sweet girl and a fabulous personality to have in women’s tennis, but watching her tennis is only marginally more interesting than watching paint dry. At least in this match.
Kuzzy spent the first set and a half blowing Carol off the court with massive serves, blistering forehands and deft volleys. There’s a reason why this girl happens to be Roger Federer’s favourite WTA player – some talents don’t need gimmicks.
But Sveta being Sveta, she imploded bizarrely with a string of unforced errors in the second set. At the end of the day, all CWoz had to do was to keep sending the balls back and watch Kuzzy self-destruct.
How can we keep Marat Safin away from this gal?
On the men’s side of things, Roger Federer had a smashing time against Tommy Robredo, breezing past 7-5 6-2 6-2. The first set was a little tight, but once Roger got that one in the bag, he unleashed the funhouse for the next two sets.
Unlike most other players out there, RFed makes a beating look beautiful.
Unsurprisingly, it was fun for Roger as it was for us. He claims that despite scoring so many victories over his opponents, it’s not just about winning.
“It’s not like even trying to beat him again; it’s just about having fun out there, playing a good match, playing good tennis, enjoying the moment, playing in packed stadiums. It’s something not many people get an opportunity to do.
I think everybody would love to be in my shoes. Why should I give away my spot really because I enjoy too much and people love to come see me play? So this is motivation alone for me. I mean, it’s plenty. I have plenty of reasons for me to keep on playing.”
It goes without saying, which is precisely why I should really say it with a little salut and all: RESPECT!
Roger faces the Sod next, who was up 2 sets to 1 against Davo when the Russian retired with an injury. Robin celebrated his impending meeting with the Fed by … eating jellybeans.
That’s just 100% adorkability. Robin Soderling, the most misunderstood man in tennis? Quite possibly.
My worst enemy for the next two days? Definitely.
In other men’s matches, Djokovic had a straightforward squashing of the Worm, but the real highlight was his reconciliation with the American crowd. I thought it was nice for Darren Cahill to offer him an olive branch, a chance for Nole to redeem himself with something that made him popular in the first place – imitations.
It might seem like all fun and games, but with Roddick out of the draw and the crowd seemingly warming towards the Djoker again, how will it play out for Nole’s confidence?
He seems to be a player desperate for acceptance and particularly bothered by the dialectics between popularity and notoriety. Would being portrayed in a more positive light put some wind under his wings?
Who knows. Just don’t tell me you didn’t see him comin’.
BACK TO FRAZZLING,
There was something wild and burning in NYC today, leaving many of the top seeds singed, scorched or flat-out cremated.
Black Saturday got off to an ominous start as Roger Federer, seemingly in control of the first set serving at 4-2 40-0, lost serve with a string of forehand errors and a double fault.
From then on, as Roger put it himself, “the wheels came off“. Federer couldn’t make a single winner to save his life for the next 15 minutes, and conceded the first set 6-4 with 24 unforced errors.
After all my efforts in pretending that the early hard court season never happened, the suppress memories Key Biscayne came rushing back. Roger cleaned up his game slightly in the next 3 sets, but it was B+ stuff, resulting in a relatively close 4-set win.
Credit to Rusty though. Give the guy so much as a half-chance and he’ll take it from you in a blink and scream “C’MAWN” in your face.
I don’t know how I feel about Hewitt these days. On the one hand, it’s hard not to hold his foul behavior as a youngster against him. On the other, could it really be that I’m finally feeling something for Hewitt that I never felt during the first part of his career: respect?
I mean, the guy’s accumulated a fortune over the years. He’s won two slams, spent a decent number of weeks as the No 1, been there and done that. He’s gotten himself a soapy wife, two kids and a tax-haven nest. He shouldn’t feel like he has anything left to prove.
Lleyton doesn’t have to be out here grinding away against younger and flashier prototypes. As Wertheim pointed out this week, Rusty could’ve easily “done a Safin” and rode off into the sunset, broken hips and all.
But Lleyton Hewitt is still out there, battling away for – oh I don’t know – the sheer love of competition? How do you not respect a guy like that?
While Feduruh dueled with Hewitt on Ashe, over on Armstrong, Djokovic hardly resembled the World No 4 that he is, battling past Jesse Witten, ranked 267 in the world 6-7 (2) 6-3 7-6 (2) 6-4.
You gotta give it up to these journeymen, people like Greul and Witten, for taking it to the top guys and relishing their prime time moment. At the sam time, Djokovic was just far too passive during the match, with only 31 winners to Witten’s 42, 53 unforced errors to Witten’s 62, and 8 double faults to Witten’s 11. It wasn’t exactly world class stuff.
It’s the end of a feel-good story for Jesse Witten, whose third round performance revived his passion for tennis.
“This makes me want to keep playing. It gives me some money to keep playing. The biggest thing usually is I feel like I don’t belong . . . I never said it or tell people that. Just in my mind, I don’t know how good I am, so it’s good to see I can play with these guys.“
Cinderella or Uncle Toni’s lovechild? You decide:
As Djokovic wrapped up his marathon against Witten, Maria Sharapova was being bundled out by the new American sweetheart Melanie ‘Oudini’.
Given all the upsets on the women’s side of things, I’m thrilled that we at least have a feisty little teen battling her way into everyone’s heart.
But I won’t pretend it wasn’t painful to watch Masha Fierce double fault 21 times and committ 63 unforced errors and lose the match. The serve, which had been fine during her first two matches, unravelled so spectacularly that it began to corrupt the rest of her game.
Q. When you’re having trouble like you were serving, how hard is it to hold onto your groundstrokes?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: With the amount of errors I made from both my groundstrokes and my serve, to be able to get it to three sets is not bad. So if I didn’t make those errors, those double faults, I certainly would have won the match.
So that gives me some confidence.
Saddened, but not crushed.
Just when you thought the Tennis Gods were done with the upsets, lo and behold – John Isner and Andy Roddick locked themselves into an epic ace-fest.
Must admit I was gunning for Izzy to pull off an upset – he won me over a few weeks ago in Washington where he took ARod to 3 sets. Apparently, dude has more than just a serve. He committed himself to volleying the entire match, forcing Andy to come up with passing shots, which he couldn’t.
Even so, when ARod came back from a 2-set deficit to level for a fifth, I thought he had it in the bag. Isner was supposed to have run out of extra gears. He was supposed to be physically ailing, nervous, and floundering in self-doubt. Except he wasn’t.
Q. Were you as calm on the inside as you appeared on the outside throughout that match?
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, I really was. Never panicked. If I lose that match, I have nothing to hang my head about. Played well. Maybe a little bit more the pressure’s on him. He’s expected to do so well here. Nobody expected me to win. Kind of looked at it that way. Just went out there and, you know, just played free. Didn’t think too much.
Q. Did you expect to win?
JOHN ISNER: I did. Yeah, I knew I had a shot. Once I got that first set, I definitely knew I had a shot. I played really well in the second set. Obviously, when you’re up two sets to love, you’ve only got one more to go, so…
Q. Can you articulate what this win means to you?
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, I don’t really know how to describe it just yet. It’s obviously, hands down, the biggest win of my career. Nothing even compares. To do it at the stage I did it on is pretty spectacular. Maybe it will sink in a little bit more tomorrow.
But I know I can really do some damage here. So I’m not satisfied just yet.
I like this kid. He can join my bandwagon. I’ll save him a mono-infested seat right next to Fed and Mario.
Tough for Andy to lose such a close match, even tougher that he should end his fantastic slam year with a third round showing.
So … who picked Dent and Isner as the last two American men standing?
The freaktastic day of upsets was then topped off by Dinara Safina, who lost to the World No 72, Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, 6-4 2-6 7-6 (7-5).
And watching the match, you would’ve never known who was the top seed. Petra was gutsy from the start, firing 47 winners and 59 unforced errors. Dinara made 12 winners over a 3 set match, and never looked like she wanted to dictate proceedings.
TWELVE winners, that’s about 4 per set. Are you fucking kidding me?!
Never mind, I’ve vented enough during the match. Thanks Petra for putting us out of our misery.
Blackened and burnt,
Good day at the office for Americans, a day of bloodbaths for the WTA, as its own headlines read: “who let the underdogs out?”
For all her comforting results this summer, Jelena Jankovic fell second round to Yaroslava Shvedova 6-3 6-7(4) 7-6(6) after holding two match points. During the match, JJ lacked her usual vibrancy and sprint.
And how could she not? She was playing with a heavy heart after learning that her grandmother had passed away the night before.
“For my part, I wasn’t really on the court. My grandmother died and I was very close to her. I was very sad and emotionally, I was not really on the court. I was really suffering. I tried to think about my tennis, but, you know, I felt like I was so late and so slow. I couldn’t even watch the ball. That was my problem.”
It’s sad to see JJ’s slam season finish on a low point like that, just when she seems to be getting her game back on track. Take a break Cherry, and cut yourself some slack.
Call it double standards, call it whatever you want. But I’m less inclined to cut Dementieva any slack.
As a self-proclaimed non-fan of Dementieva, I must admit I was fairly cynical of her grand slam chances, even after her victory in Toronto. If slam results could be inferred from warm-up tournaments, then Dinara Safina should be sitting on a few slams right now. I stuck a fork in the idea that Lena D would eventually win a slam a while back, and I’m not about to resurrect her now.
Even so, it’s just not good enough for the World No 4 and a veteran of the tour to be out-gutsed by an injured 17 year old.
Credit to Melanie Oudin though, if you thought she was impressive against JJ at Wimbledon, then her performance in her 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 win over Demmy was something else to behold.
The petite 17 year-old was 90% guts today as she fought back tears, ignored the pain in her injured leg, and played fearless tennis for three sets against one of the more established names currently in women’s tennis.
Oudin certainly lived up to the inscription on her shoe – BELIEVE. If only a few more of the WTA contenders could do the same.
Q. Talk about the shoes. They say “believe” on them.
MELANIE OUDIN: Yes.
Q. Is that your saying or somebody’s…
MELANIE OUDIN: Actually, my boyfriend gave me that idea to put on it, and I really liked it. So I put that on my shoe. It seems to fit me well.
And fit her, it sure as hell did.
Someone who never had any troubles with self-belief: Masha Fierce, who came through a cruising win over another American 17 year old, Christina McHale 6-2 6-1.
The serve is still coming in ebbs and flows, the toss tends to get higher as the match goes on. But Maria had it under control for most of the match except for one service game in the second set. Not that it mattered much, Masha Fierce was just awe-inspiring in her omnipresence on court.
Thank god the Pova’s back, showing the other clowns how to do it with a stamp of authority.
Desperately needing a stamp of authority was Dinara Safina, whose 6-7 6-2 6-3 win over the 67th-ranked Kristina Barrois of Germany was just about as laborious as her first round match.
You really don’t need to hear me say for the gazillionth time how over Safina I am. Contrary to Maratski’s insistence, I’m clearly not the one who needs to go fug herself.
Tough day for Alize Cornet, whose season has turned from promising to dismal after losing to Zheng Zheng Jie Jie in 3 sets. She does however take the prize for my favourite dress of the Open so far. Very impressed with Lacoste’s gears for the girls this year.
More tough luck to Sabine Lisicki, who served for the match against Rodionova at 5-3 in the third, only to lose it 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 and spraining her ankle on match point. For your information, Rodionova is Australian this month, although there’s no telling which flag she’ll play under in her next tournament. And I thought I was indecisive.
On the men’s side of things, James Blake won two matches in a row, since … ever. Me likey.
The rest of the top 20 also came safely through. RFed’s childhood friend, Marco Chiudinelli, equalled his best ever slam result by making the third round of the US Open over Youzhny. Swiss tennis’s two-men effort lives on, despite Concubine’s shambolic loss.
Wait – there are tennis tournaments going on this week?
Sometimes I just want to stop the world for a bit and savor the moment, but that can’t be done, so it’s bye bye, Wimbly. You’re not my favourite slam. Actually, I hate you like an unloved child. And just because I’m a Federer fan, doesn’t mean I buy into your pomp and stickupyerassness the way TMF does.
But hey, you’ve delivered, yet again. You can go away now, with my parting thoughts…
1) If Brooklyn is okay with it, ARod and Dementieva should get together for a drink and some serious commiserations. They both had hugely improved their games. Both conquered some demons and played the match of their lives. Both knew that their chances to win another slam (a slam in Dementieva’s case) were running out – it was now or never for the pair of them. Both had points in their matches that will haunt them forever – Roddick in the second set tiebreak, and of course Dementieva and her dramatic match point.
Both faced opponents heavily favoured to win, but nevertheless didn’t play their best tennis on the day. But both their opponents served near-record numbers of aces to save their asses. Both Fed and Serena dug themselves out of deficits, and practiced the art of survivorship – being the last man/woman standing, which takes slightly more than just day form. Roger and Serena didn’t end up with set points or match points that would haunt them forever. They survived long enough to put themselves in a position where just one flinch from their opponents would give them a lifeline. In the end, they both earned their victories thoroughly.
And thus the difference between Fed/Serena v Roddick/Dementieva? 25 slams. My deepest respect for the losing pair aside, my faith in Fed and Serena was reaffirmed by those two matches, not that it needed anymore reaffirming. But Roger, Andy, Serena and Elena will remain the four heros of the tournament for me.
2) Wimbledon as a tournament irks me, and the trophy presentation irked me too. You had Borg, Laver and Sampras sitting there in the Royal Box – why couldn’t any of them have presented the trophy instead of the Duke of Whatever? They were the real royalties on Centre Court.
And how did the photographer manage to make the four GOAT contenders of men’s tennis look this fugly?
Other Wimbledon stuff-ups that irked me: the girls-on-centre-court issue, the not-so-subtle ignorance of Novak Djokovic issue, the trying-to-call-Henman-Hill-Murray-Mound issue…
Redemption points for their tweeting and Facebook page. Best use of social network sites ever.
3) This question was posed to Lleyton Hewitt after his third round defeat at Roland Garros:
Q. If you look to this tournament you see some former No. 1 players like Safin, Ferrero, you. You’re not still in the 30s, but it seems like your generation cannot pick on anymore. How do you see that?
No need to hang on to Roger. With the exception of Safin, the rest of the ‘old balls’ – Ferrero, Hewitt, Haas and Roddick – all came roaring back during Wimbledon. And Ivo Karlovic too: in his 30s and making his first grand slam quarterfinal. Maybe it’s because of these guys, but we saw some fairly old-school tennis during the fortnight – massive serves, tactical S&V, there was a few singlehanded backhands hanging around that did not belong to Roger Federer too. Meh.
4) I’m a bit stuck on Venus Williams – I keep rooting for her to win a slam this year, and keep feeling disappointed whenever she loses. At least she played divinely to get to the final, but Serena wasn’t to be denied.
Oh well, I’m already on the bandwagon, so how about … I’ll support her like crazy again for the US Open? Can’t be that far-fetched, can it? *sigh*
5) Still ignoring Dinara Safina, and obviously failing at it. Actually why don’t we ignore Jelena Jankovic too. When your opponent hit double the number of winners as you, it’s a case of sour grapes to say that she has no weapons.
While we’re at it, Caroline Wozniacki is dangerously close to being in the Ignore Club. I’m still waiting for her to step it up at a grand slam. When you’re announcing yourself as the next, next big thing, it’s probably not good enough to lose to Dokic, Cirstea or Lisicki before the quarterfinals of slams. I did enjoy “Bumpgate” though.
6) Random-assortment-of-forgettable-players-worthy-of-a-mention: Dudi Sela, Philippe Kohlschreiber, Francesca Schiavone, Virginie Razzano (yay top 20), Amelie Mauresmo (come on she’s pretty forgetable these days), Radek Stepanek, Melanie Oudin, Sorana Cirstea …
Just because you fell before the finish line doensn’t mean you didn’t have a fantastic tournament.
And a better draw for poor old Rendy Lu next time, please?
7) And the almost-heroes:
Sabine Lisicki – any girl who can serve that well deserves to be in my Bandwagon Park.
Stanislas Wawrinka – Stan decided to step it up in a major way, and flaunt his backhand now that Reeshard is no longer around. He still fell valiantly short, but showed that he deserves to be back in the top 10. Keep it up: onwards and upwards to the Masters Cup!
Lleyton Hewitt – a round of applause for Rusty for taking out del Potro, surviving dangerous opponents like Petzschner and Stepanek, then taking Andy Roddick to a thrilling five sets. Didn’t like him a few years ago, but it was good to see him hanging around again. Let’s hope the hip holds up.
8.) Regardless of your opinion on the so-called ‘Big Babe tennis’, the WTA needs its Big Babes to do well right now. Not a fan of either of them, but I was glad to see Daniela Hantuchova and Ana Ivanovic pull reasonable performances at Wimbledon.
Slightly freaked out about Maria though – I’m still keeping my fingers crossed that the rust will eventually wear off. She’s young, she’s still got time, right? RIGHT?
9) Who wants to sign my “Roger Federer needs a coach ASAP” petition?
Here’s what the stubborn Roger had to say about his team during the French part of the post-Wimbly presser:
Pouvez-vous nous parler de votre équipe ?
J’ai cru dans mon équipe. Cela a payé. Je suis très fier car je n’ai pas fait les changements drastiques que tout le monde attendait. J’ai eu raison, vous avez eu tort (sourires). »
Can you talk about your team?
“I believed in my team. That paid off. I am very proud because I didn’t make any drastic changes as everyone expected. I was right, you were wrong.” (Laughter)
No we’re not wrong. I still think Federer should get a coach, but let me just hide that petition somewhere for a rainy day.
10) Like Serena, Federer now hold 3 out of the 4 grand slams. Unlike Serena, Federer is No 1 in the world. I’d like to shut up about the WTA rankings, but it’s so goddam hard.
Mentioning rankings, I’m feasting my eyes on this …
Potential to rise for Andy Roddick. Potential to crash and burn for Gilles Simon.
11) Rafa to return in Montreal. My guess is that Roger’s pulling out.
12) I thought Andy Murray dealt well with the pressure and expectations at Wimbledon, but his smacktalk pre-Wimbledon appears a little silly in hindsight. Truth be told, whether or not Federer should’ve chosen to comment on Murray’s game after their match in Dubai last year, he was pretty spot-on with his assessment. Larry Stefanki said almost the same thing about Murray on Wimbledon Radio after the semifinals:
“Besides Roger Federer he is the best mover in the game. He has the best footwork and he is technically very sound. He has to change his mentality of the way he wants to play this game at the very top level.”
“He is going to have a great future if he gets to the point of recognising balls to attack and to come into the forecourt and play there rather than 15 feet behind the baseline.”
“I like Andy Murray a lot and I respect his game. He plays it very smart but I still believe the game is played in the forecourt and at the net in order to win some big titles.
That’s one area that Nadal has hugely improved on in the last year: choosing when to come forward proactively and attack, and when to defend. No reason to suppose Andy Murray can’t improve on the same front.
13) And onwards we roll: what are Andy Murray’s chances at the US Open? Good? Very good? Sure bet?
After Roger’s wins in Paris and London, I don’t even care if he wins the US Open anymore, if he does – cherry on top, any slam’s a bonus. If he doesn’t, I’d like to see him at least keep the semifinals streak alive.
I haven’t done the calculations, but is there any chance of Rafael Nadal dropping to No 3 in the rankings before the US Open? Hell, I do NOT want a Federer/Nadal semifinal.
14) I miss/hate Richard Gasquet.
15) 15th tidbit for 15 slams: HURRAH! YAY! WOOHOO! Still basking in the afterglow of Federer and Serena’s victories.
Having said that, the GOAT debate is now slightly more annoying than the grunt debate, which is slightly more annoying than grunting itself … which is saying a lot.
Time to take that “GFC” icon off my sidebar, me thinks. The irony of it all is that Federer said at the end of Miami “thank God the hard court season’s over”. I wonder what he thinks about this upcoming hard court season.
1) I never cease to marvel at the “orderliness” at Wimbledon. For a tournament of rules and traditions, it has a strange protective effect over the top seeds, it shields them from freak upsets in the first week. It also has the ability to realise pre-tournament predictions, be it an ultimate Federer/Nadal-Roddick showdown, or a Williams final. We may or may not get Federer/Murray and Venus/Serena in the finals this year, but that just seems to be the way Wimblydondon rolls.
Not that upsets don’t happen at Wimbledon, but they’re less likely to happen. Particularly on the WTA side of things, I had expected Ivanovic, Safina or Dementieva to fall much earlier. On the men’s side, I had been predicting Simon and Verdasco to exist early, but both seem to have found their range in their respective third round matches. Even Amelie Mauresmo is putting up a solid performance. Dare I hope that Momo takes down Safina? Dare I? Looking at her first service game against Pennetta, no – I dare not.
But go Momo nonetheless!
2) Ana Ivanovic played the best match I’ve seen from her in quite a while. It’s a pity she had to take down my compatriot in doing so. When that ball toss is right, Ana has quite a good serve, and she seems to be learning to take her time with the ball toss. Good signs? Whatever. I was too busy paying attention to the hunk in her box. Oh Adam, we could’ve been beautiful together. *puppy face*
That said, if Venus loses to her I might just throw myself into the Yarra again. I had Ana as a dark horse for Wimbledon, and she may turn out to be just that. Wimblydondon Gods, protect thy champion!
3) Of course if Venus plays the way she did against Suarez Navarro, I don’t see it happening. How DIVINE was this woman? The first set of the match just topped the Azarenka and Safina quarterfinal at Roland Garros as one of the most enjoyable dominant performances by a player. Interesting to see the number of times she approached the net, even S&Ving on quite a few serves. By the middle of the second set, Suarez Navarro had found her range and her presence in the match, giving us glimpses of the kind of game that saw her advance to the quarterfinals at the Australian Open. But in the end, Venus just had too much power, athleticism, and wingspan for Carla. Great to see her commitment to coming to the net at this tournament, it gave me warm-fuzzies to see a player’s game continue to evolve at the age of 29.
4) Raise your bone-china teacups at our homies in the US of A, who found a 17-year-old sweetheart to swoon over yesterday. With Aussie TV coverage stuck on Hewitt v Petzschner, I switched to livestream to catch a glimpse of this girl. Must say I was quite impressed. Oudin was 20% head, 20% legs, and 60% heart. With all of JJ’s dramatic “woman problems”, the girl remained focused. When she had four set points in the first set and couldn’t convert, I was so sure that she was going to go quietly into the good night, but I was wrong. The girl remained positive, ballsy, took risks and reaped rewards. Considering she almost could’ve lost in qualifying, fourth round is a pretty impressive showing for a 17 year old debutante. I like her guts, and her hoop earrings.
5) Someone whose guts I don’t like – Jelena Jankovic.
Oh JJ, remember the times when we used to be best friends? Okay no, that was just wishful thinking on my part. But I don’t even want to be manicure buddies with you anymore. I like the sore losers and the bitchiness in the WTA, it makes it fun to follow, but this is a little too sore for me.
Q. She’s still very young, but can you tell us what you think her potential is?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No, it’s tough to say. But, you know, from what I have seen, you know, she can play if you let her play. But she cannot hurt you with anything. She doesn’t have any weapons, you know, from what I’ve seen.
You know, I played with half pace. I served, you know, like almost my first serve was like a second serve and all those kind of things. But if I had a little bit more ‑‑ if I felt a little bit more fresh at the end of that second set, I could have won in two sets.
But I just was ‑‑ the more I ‑‑ the longer I stayed on court the worse and worse I felt, and that was not good for me. I know my chance was to win that second set, but unfortunately didn’t happen, and then everything went in her favor.
Q. Except for her movement?
JELENA JANKOVIC: She’s a consistent and quite solid player. She doesn’t make so many mistakes.But she doesn’t do anything either, so it’s like she’s depending kind of on you. And, as well, it’s another story when she’s young and she has nothing to lose, no pressure. You know, even when it’s an important moment, she can just go for it.
And nobody’s expecting her to win, so it’s just a bonus if she does well. But if she loses, you know, nobody will tell her anything.
So it’s a different, you know, situation for those kind of players. And then for players like me, which you’re expected to win, you have pressure on yourself, you have expectations, as well. She just goes out there to enjoy it and give her best.
The pot calling the kettle weak. Perhaps we should remind JJ that she hit 14 winners while her opponent with “no weapons” hit 38?
6) One last Aussie standing out of the original four. Lleyton Hewitt scored a solid straight sets victory over Petzschner, who has the most annoying name to spell. But Petzy can play, I must say, I seem to remember him winning something during the indoor season late last year, or at least I remember making a failed attempt to learn his name at the time. Lleyton did well towards the tail end of each set. Now one more round at least. Pretty please?
I’m uber impressed with the Fanatics at Wimbledon.
7) ARod is still doing that shuda-been-straight-sets-but-ended-in-four thing. I’ve been saying that he’ll make it into the final, but I’m so not sure now: Murray’s played fairly dominant tennis in the last two rounds.
Mildly cross-eyed, no?
8.) How about the other New Balls guys? I can’t believe how well they’ve been doing this tournament.
The Tennis Gods are smiling on Tommy Haas at last, and gave him a second spring. I never liked him much in his early days. Sure the guy played beautiful tennis, but he spent half the time acting like a monkey on court, and routinely blew two sets to love leads while looking like someone stole his banana.
Tommy Haas wasn’t about to blow the fifth set when he came out at 6 all in the fifth against Cilic. The oldest guy left in the draw against the youngest. Old school serve and volley (since when did Tommy Haas S&V? Since now apparently…) versus new age fearless power tennis. When serving for the match, Haas clearly tensed up and threw Cilic a lifeline with two break points. But it was Cilic who proved to be the tenser of the two. He had Haas on the ropes, the court wide open, and shanked his forehand each time. I like the kid, but I wasn’t sorry he lost. He has something on his side that Haas doesn’t have. Time.
9) Another living fossil who’s resurfaced again during the grass season – JC Ferrero. At the beginning of the week, I laughed when I read JCF’s presser, where he talked about becoming motivated again and returning to the top 10. Two rounds later, Ferrero claimed his first top 10 casualty since Rome(?) last year and that motivation showed. Despite being outaced and outgunned by a more powerful Gonzo, JCF remained consistent, making just 15 unforced errors in 5 sets.
The match was also dramatic for the intermittent rain, dimming daylight, and the shambolic announcement (while the players were on court) that the match might be moved to centre court where the roof had been put across. Are you that desperate to use the roof, Wimblydondon?
JC continued to sound positive in his presser.
Q. Are you surprised to be in the second week at Wimbledon?
JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: Not at all. I was before, so it’s not the first time. I knew before the tournament that I was playing very well on grass because I made a great week on Queen’s. So I came here, you know, after a week practice and at home, doing not a lot physically and ready to be here.
That’s the way I want it to be, no? Physically I’m 100 percent okay, and I’m not surprised to be in the second week at all.
I’ve stopped using the word “vamos” in the last few years because of my Roger conversion, and truth be told, “hopp” just doesn’t have the same musicality to it. It makes me feel like Heidi half the time. Time to abuse “vamos” again. With no points to defend for the rest of the year, to the top 20 and beyond I say – VAMOS JCF!
10) Not so surprised that Lisicki took down Kuzzy, who just doesn’t feel it on grass. When I first saw Lisicki play at Hopmans earlier in the year, I had no idea who she was, but loved all that I saw except for her DFs. Sabine plays high-risk, gutsy tennis that either ends up giving the match to her opponent with unforced errors, or making every single person watching the match fall in love with her killer instincts and positive energy. It’s fantastic to listen to a commentator who has yet to see her play slowly come to the realisation of what gem the girl is. Not sure that I like her quite as much as I like CWoz yet. But how could you not love this face?
11) For a while it looked like we could have another American pulling an upset. But Stan’s shotmaking rescued him in time. Looking forward to Wawrinka v Murray, not that I think Stan has a chance, but great result for him, reaching the second week at Wimbledon once again.
12) In other results… the Worm came through in five sets against David Ferrer, with some pretty dramatic knee problems along the way. He’s due to face Hewitt next round, can you image the amount of fist pumps, disco moves and lawn-mowing going on?
Only watched the last set of Berdych v Davydenko, and saw all I needed to see. Tomas Berdych is on fire and ready to burn.
He came into the match with a 0-8 record against Davydenko, but bullied Davo into submission in straight sets. After 6 days of play, Berdych is the only guy left in the draw who’s yet to drop a set – I’m just glad he’s on the other side of the draw. Roddick ought to look out. It would be a huge disappointment if he came into Wimbledon with such solid results, only to fall to Berdych fourth round.
Was Chace Crawford at Wimbledon? Oh yeth he wath…. ahermmmm