Roger Tweenerer, cursed for reckless conduct towards the future of Swiss tennis.
The most hilarious part of the whole thing was the utterly braindead judgement from Youzhny on the shot: “OH SHIT, ROGER FEDERER HIT A TWEENER, IT MUST BE GOING IN AND IMMA LOOK LIKE A HEADCLOBBERING IDIOT”.
Dude, the shot would’ve been out anyway, and you will always be a headclobbering idiot. Said with love and resignation.
(Gif credit: livefortennis.tumblr)
Oh, by the way – 29 CONSECUTIVE GRAND SLAM QUARTERFINALS. No big deal or anything. I’m just going to wag my finger back and forth – awake, asleep or downright unconscious.
A little snippet of the Melbourne music scene before we get onto the tennis, worth it just for the guy at the start.
1. Dear Tennis Gods, it would be great if you … you know … stopped kicking my ass. Weekend results – in the order of misery:
Madrid: Aravene Rezai def Justine Henin: 46 75 60.
Madrid: Lucie Safarova def Maria Sharapova 64 63.
Whatshisface def. GOAT 62 76(5).
Darth Federer def Dootsie 60 60.
I wonder how Maria Sharapova feels these days – back in 08, she was playing the best tennis of her career before her body came crashing down on her. She came back, slowly but surely, climbing her way into the top 20 with a rustier, more uncertain brand of tennis, before her body crashed again.
But Sharapova wouldn’t be Sharapova if she didn’t have that never-ending relentlessness to her. It’s no surprise that she lost first match in Madrid – coming back from injury, rusty, hasn’t played or won much this year, she had the misfortune of drawing the baby-faced giant-killer that is Lucie Safarova. No frazzling needed – her comeback from injury begins in earnest in Strasbourg.
As for Justine, she was reportedly ill after Stuttgart, looks like she ran out of gas in the third set. I say “looks like”, since no network had the decency to cover an OOP featuring Venus, Henin and Sharapova.
2. To top it off, Jizzy let match point slip at 63 53 before losing to Querrey 36 76(4) 64. WHAT. EVER. No one wants an erectile dysfunctional trophy anyway.
Mentioning erectile dysfunction …
(Lordy, Nole looks pre-pubescent.)
3. Since his very public act of self-mutilation two years ago, Mikhail Youzhny has tumbled down the rankings before sneaking his way slowly back up. Who knew? Dude’s closing in on Top 10 again.
Over in Munich, Mish outlasted Red Hot Cilic Peppers 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, making it third time lucky for the finalist of 2007 and 2009.
Marin. Scruffy. Dimples. Alas …
4. Over in Estoril, Whatshisface successfully defended his title. *grumbles*
What happens in Estoril stays in Estoril, ya hear me?
FINALS SUNDAY LINE-UP
Youzhny vs. Djokovic
The Headclobber is not the kind of player I’d expect to do well in a final. But then again, this is Dubai, a tournament he’s typically played well in.
His opponent is in a bit of unchartered waters himself, as Nole is oh-so-close to defending a title for the first time in his career. If his last 3 matches were anything to go by, he really, really, really wants to screw it up.
Ferrero vs. Ferrer
Wanting Ferrero to win. Picking Ferrer. Simply because logically, it just doesn’t make sense for JCF to be on such a Nadalesque run without losing a match.
Venus vs. Hercog
Err. Whut? Venus is on track to defend her second title in a row. This hasn’t been a bad start to her year by any stretch of the imagination.
Dementieva v Kleybanova
For every pound that Alisa Kleybanova loses, she takes one step closer to the top echelon of the game. I’m not having a go at her weight, I’m having a go at her physical conditioning. She’ll never be the fastest or the smoothest mover out there, but she can do something about the most exploitable weakness in her game.
That aside, I actually kinda love Kleybs. Her ball-bashing ways are strangely cathartic.
Meanwhile, Elena Dementieva has had 3 weeks off since Jan 1st. That’s taking into account that she crashed out of the Australian Open early.
Can someone knock some sense into that girl?
How can you be expected to “peak” at the slams when you play day in day out, often at the most mundane of tournaments. It’s no surprise she hasn’t managed to win a slam.
‘Twas a week of redemption on the ATP and WTA tours as players set out with points to prove, monkeys on their backs and losing streaks to be ended.
1. In Costa do Sauipe, Ferrero baked Kubot for a 6-1 6-0 win in the Brazil Open. It was Ferrero’s 13th ATP title, just two days after turning the big three-oh.
And boy, did he need this win, after losing in the opening rounds in Auckland and the Australian Open.
For Kubot, it was a decent run to follow up his best slam result ever at the Australian Open 2 weeks ago. With this win, he moves deservingly into the top 50.
2. Also coming into this week with zero wins in 2010 was Robin Soderling, who took a wild card to Rotterdam in an effort to play himself into some form.
And he did just that.
It wasn’t a fantastic final, as the Headclobber retired with a leg injury, trailing 64 20.
It was Dimples’ fifth career title after failing to win a match since his victory over Roger Federer in Abu Dhabi. One week, he was losing to Granola Bar, the next, he’s on a 5 match winning streak with a top 10 victory to boot.
That’s tennis for ya.
“I came here without any confidence and didn’t play well in my first two matches. But my coach, Magnus Norman, has been great this week and telling me that even when I wasn’t playing great I still am tough to beat. The best medicine to regain confidence is winning matches and especially against good opponents.”
For a guy as reserved as Sod, he and Magnus Norman certainly have a great relationship.
3. Is it still considered news when Elena Dementieva wins a tournament? The girl’s nothing if not the “real No 1” of the non-slam tour.
In any case, it was redemption for Demmy after losing to Momo in the final last year, as she came from a set down to beat Lucie Safarova 6-7 (5) 6-1 6-4 in the final of the Open GDF Suez.
It was her second victory in 3 tournaments in 2010. If only the one she lost wasn’t the only one that mattered.
Whatever Nike’s trying to do these days with its designs – MAKE IT STOP.
4. In Thailand, Vera zvommed her way to a title at the Pattaya Open with a 6-4 6-4 win over local favourite Tamarine Tanasugarn. Nothing more to it – she’ll need all the points she can defend before Indian Wells I’m afraid.
5. Player of the week: Fernando Verdasco, who fought back from a set down to take out Randy 3-6 6-4 6-4 for the title in San José.
For Nando, the win came as a huge monkey off his back. Since his Australian Open blitz last year, he hasn’t had much success in the latter stages of tournaments, going 0-15 against Top 10 players and falling outside the top 10 after putting Dootsie through a miserable 5 setter against Davydenko at the Australian Open.
Perhaps Roddick was still feeling the numbness in his shoulder, his serve just did not have its usual pop.
And I have to get this off my chest – WHAT’S WITH THE PUSHING?
I geddit man. You’re comfortable rallying from the baseline now. You defend better. You’re not just a big serve anymore, if you ever were.
But that doesn’t mean you grind your way through matches without flattening out your forehand. There was a time when I considered the Roddick forehand to be one of the biggest in the game. It doesn’t even come close to that these days.
As for Nando, he’s closing in on a top 10 spot again, just 110 points behind Marin Cilic. But it’s a case of too little, too late for me. I want to like him, but after 15 losses to top 10 players, countless double faults, brain cramps and sets of utter lethargy, I was done with him by London 2009.
6. Good news Rafa fans. He’s moved up to No 3.
1. Oh Rotterdam, I asked for Nole v Davo, instead I got Sod v Headclobber … and somehow, that’s even better.
Solid results aside, since his impressive victory over Fed in Qatar, Kolya’s tennis has downgraded from Playstation to Tamagotchi. In particular, his 5-set win over Nando in Melbourne, which was the single worst match I’ve ever had the misfortune of witnessing.
Not that the Sod’s been playing Xbox tennis either. He almost let a 5-2 lead slip in the first set, after Davydenko fought back to bring about a tiebreaker. But with a bit of self-destruction from Davo and solid serving from Sod, Davydenko conceded the tiebreak 5-7 and the Sod clicked into bonecrush mode, finishing off the second set 7-6, (3) 6-4.
2. Who is this pusher and what have you done with Novak Djokovic?
There was a time, back in 2007-08 when I thought Novak Djokovic was the biggest wanker in town. Much of that prejudice, I’m afraid, carried through to this day, but even in my dislike, I used to be able to appreciate Djokovic’s shot-making. When he was shooting his mouth off, there was a certain defiant vehemence in his game. He was aggressive, free-hitting; he was hungry and desperate – it seemed – for some respect as a contender in this sport.
He made it. He won a slam. He ended Roger Federer’s streak of 10 consecutive finals. What then?
These days, I watch Novak Djokovic and wonder where all that defiance I once hated went? Where did this complacency come from? What’s with the grinder mentality when you have such solid weapons off both wings? More importantly – what happened to the serve?
In his first tournament as the World No 2, Djoko was upset by Mikhail “Headclobber” Youzhny 7-6 (5) 7-6 (6). With this loss, Djoko has yet to beat a top 50 player in 2010.
Never has the gap between the World No 1 and 2 looked wider.
3. The cold hard truth:
2003-7: Weak era.
2008-early 2009: Weak era exposed.
2009-early 2010: Weak era resumes.
Or so some simpletons out there would want us to believe. To that I reply with all the smugness I’m capable of mustering: my guy has 16 slams. Nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh.
As if anything else mattered.
4. What I hate about the two sides of the Federer debate is that there is so little appreciation for nuance from either side.
Pete Bodo’s piece on the Fedal rivalry this week sparked the sort of mass outrage from Federer fans that should be only reserved for the worst of the world’s dictators. Douglas Perry from the Oregonian then wrote a stirring rebuttal to Bodo defending Roger’s achievements (clickey, or read GTT’s concise guide to the “asterisk debate”).
Here’s the deal: there is nothing you can say about Federer or Nadal that would come as news to me anymore. The war of words has been fought to death, now can we get more tennis from those two and less fandom crusades?
On the one hand, Rafa has become a convenient “go to” for Federer-haters too unwilling to take Federer’s GOAT status without a pinch of salt. And Rafa happens to be of the savoury variety. Yummy.
And yes – Rafa bothers Fed. It’s stylistic. It’s mental. It’s everything to do with the nature of this rivalry. It’s why we find it compelling for fuck sake.
Even as a Federer fan, I am perfectly capable of admitting all that.
On the other, one can’t help by laugh at the hypocrisy of those predicting anyone but Fed to win the Australian Open pre-tournament, spending the entire off-season waxing lyrical about how close the gap is at the top of the men’s game, only to have Fed fry eggs on their faces in the blistering Melbournian sun.
How else are they supposed to respond? By shoving an effing asterisk down our effing throat.
By trying to discredit Federer’s achievements with factors completely outside his control like who he gets on the other side of the net en route to a slam victory. By punishing him for playing “catch me if you can” with the rest of the ATP and winning.
Murray tried. Murray was in a better position to win a slam than he’d been all his career. Murray failed.
And now, the Fed-haters are freaking out.
Not to be deterred by his loss in Thailand last week, Jo-Willy Tsonga managed to get his serve and forehand sorted out in Tokyo this week, winning his semifinal and final matches without being broken once.
I only saw the first set, but that was all I needed to see. Jo powered his way around the baseline, jumping in occasionally to mix things up. And the sight of Youzhny flourishing a backhand down-the-line still had me frothing at the mouth.
Despite some early chances for Mikhail, once Jo found the range on his serve in the 3rd game, it was all just one-way traffic. Jo wrapped things up 63 63 for his 3rd title this year and to edge him closer to a place in the YECs in London.
Hopefully this gives him a boost going into Shanghai, although I have my doubts about someone as prone to injuries as Tsonga playing 3 tournaments in consecutive weeks.
Also picking up his third title this year, Novak Djokovic took down Marin Cilic 62 76 for the shiny cauldron in Beijing.
I was afraid that after a huge upset yesterday, Marin would have a letdown and that was essentially the story of the first set.
Cilic came into the match with nowhere near the sort of pace and accuracy on his groundstrokes as he had against Nadal. Although Marin raised his level in the second set and had a chance to serve it out at 6-5, he promptly gave back the break with his first double fault of the match. And really, when you’ve only won 5/15 points on your second serve for the set, one would almost expect the untimely double fault.
All credit to Djokovic, who took exploited the Cilic second serve, and err … defended well, which seems to be the thing I’ve said the most consistently about his game this year.
As for next year? Watch out for him on clay.
Okay, so maybe I don’t want to switch places with that mother of a trophy.
My ears are still ringing. What the hell just happened?
I’ll tell you what: Marin Cilic just put on the lights-out performance of the year to defeat Rafael Nadal in two sets 6-1 6-3.
And the craziest thing is – the scoreline is actually a lot closer than the match. At 5-0 in the first set, Rafa had won a total of 2 points. The set was over before you could say “Bob’s your uncle.“
With the second set underway, Marin showed no sign of a letdown, breaking Rafa in the first game. The set could’ve been over quicker, when at 2-0 in the second set, Rafa faced off 3 breakpoints to hold from a 0-40 deficit, with the help of a few shanks from Marin.
When serving for the match at 5-2, Marin tightened up once again and lost 2 opportunities to close it out on serve.
So nervous was he that when he did take the match with a forehand winner in the very next game, the look on Cilic’s face was nothing other than sheer relief at having avoided the burden of serving it out.
Even so, it was just an impeccable performance from the Croat. As the Chinese commentators on CCTV 5 put it, “woah!”
When someone with as aggressive and risky a game as Marin goes on a roll, there’s nothing you can do but to hang in there and wait for him to start missing, which unfortunately for Nadal, Cilic simply didn’t.
Mentioning Mr Checkeredpants, Rafa has the tendency to go out in flames when he loses on a hard court.
Every now and then, a player would come along and put on a performance that completely obliterates Rafa’s court presence. Tsonga at the Australian Open 2008 was an example, Djokovic at Cincinnati this year was another. Essentially that’s what Cilic did to him today – a complete imposition of his game style over Rafa’s. And sometimes you just have no answers.
Of course, all this was made harder for Nadal because of his serve. I understand that he might be playing it a little safe at this time of the year, especially right after his injuries. But if Rafa’s still hasn’t beefed it up at the Masters Cup, I’d be worried.
It seems that the China Open is a place for woodshed beatings, with Sexlana Kuznetsova and Novak Djokovic both prevailing comfortably over their opponents.
Yes. Sveta’s winning back-to-back matches again. NOBODY LOOK.
Doh. You looked didn’t you.
It’s Day 1 folks, apart from drooling over Federer’s “beautiful lines” and his outfit, which turned out to be pleasantly stark against the colour of the court, there ain’t much to say. Or is there?
Firstly, the obligatory drooling session starts … now:
I will never get over his uncanny balance…
Or the aesthetic value of his movement…
Slobber slobber, slurp slurp…
End of drooling session.
Roger had a comfortable victory over American teen Devin Britton, 6-1, 6-3, 7-5, while becoming tennis’s new 50 million dollar man.
In other news, Dootsie has FINALLY been freed from the tyranny of credit card slavery. See Roger? We’re not so different after all.
Money aside, it was a pretty uneventful match. The only thing I learnt from that match is that Devin Britton and I are clearly meant to be best friends. He’s practically stealing words out of my mouth. Can you picture Dootsie saying this about RFed?
“He’s the best. [gush] No weakness. [blush] I mean, [demented] I didn’t know what to do. [shrilly] I was just trying to play my game and see what happens, [FAIL] but, you know, he was pretty controlling of the points. [sadistic] You know, he’s No. 1 in the world for a reason. [love-heart pupils]”
Admittedly, Britton was quite nervous during the match, claiming that Roger was even better than he looked on TV, ‘watching on TV I don’t think you can really tell exactly. I mean, he obviously looks unbelievable on TV, but playing against it was even more tough, you know. It was so scarey. I was pretty scared.’
Heh, I don’t even know what my reaction would be if Roger Federer was standing across the net from me.
Actually I do: I would be on my knees, begging for mercy.
In other results, Venus Williams was a hot mess against Vera Dushevina, overcoming the Russian 6-7, 7-5, 6-3. Venus was error-prone and bothered by her knee during the match, and had to get it strapped by a trainer.
Girl, you’re wearing PINK. Of course you’re going to have knee issues.
The Curse of the Pink Panther:
As always, Vee’s outfit looks better from the back than from the front.
Serena had a much easier time, rolling over Alexa Glatch 6-4 6-1 on her quest for title defence. With her first match under her belt, Serena took the time to talk about her recently released autobiography, where she opens up about her personal life, including the period when she was down in the dumps.
It’s hard to imagine someone so vivacious, fierce and bubbly going through such a tough time in her life.
Serena admitted that it ‘wasn’t easy‘ writing openly about going through therapy, ‘however you get there, whatever way you take to get there is very interesting. That’s one of the routes I take, because I didn’t know where else to go. I felt I didn’t have anywhere else to turn.
Obviously I did, because I did have my family. And looking back on that, I realized that I could have done things different. But, you know, whatever it took to get there, I thought was just to get me motivated. I think ultimately my trip to Africa helped out, as well.’
Pretty sombre stuff from a girl who writes her name in pink. Now I’m tempted to buy her book… sneaky!
Allow me a sigh of relief as James Blake won his R1 match against Hidalgo in straight set, 6-1 6-4 7-5.
After a season plagued with injuries, I have camped myself firmly among the Blake Well-wishers. Dude’s had a knee injury, rolled ankle, and broken toe just this season, which has adversely affected his schedule and training. Give him a break, Tennis Gods. Don’t be such bitches.
Another sigh of relief as Youzhny did the US of A a public service by eliminating PHM from the draw – he spared us all from the assault-on-retinas that is this Adidas giraffe shirt.
Of my Aussie compatriots, Slammin’ Sammy came through a close one against Ai Sugi. While Hewitt stayed on course in his bid to upset Federer in R3. FRAZZLE.
Less fortunate was Jelena Dokic, who is now fighting to save her nightmarish career from total oblivion.
Since her Australian Open run, Dokic has suffered a back injury at Roland Garros, before becoming bed-ridden for two months with my worst enemy – mono. But the girl is still trying to sound upbeat about it all, “I think it counts how many times you get up. Not how many times you fall down. So hopefully I can try to do it one more time and hopefully I won’t have to do it again.”
Jelena will be flying to Italy next week to contest a minor tournament. With a bit of luck, she’ll get herself back in shape physically and avoid sliding out of the top 100. But this is Jelena Dokic we’re talking about, luck is the antithesis of her existence.
As for her future, “The toughest thing is staying positive mentally,’ said Jelena,’hopefully I’ll be healthy the whole of next year’.
For most people, that’s not too much to ask for.
Does the US Open really start next week? HELP! Can I have one more week of my frazzle-free world?
With the last slam of the season just around the corner, the top seeds all headed to New York to warm up for two weeks of mayhem. This means only one thing: EYE CANDIES for you all!
Caramel Jojo: may he never find his shirt.
According to a French source, Roger Federer and an unshaven Gilles Simon practiced for 2 hours on Arthur Ashe. Thierry Tulasne, Simon’s coach remarked afterwards that “he [Gilles] had a good laugh with Roger, it’s good for the morale”.
For any Simon fans out there, Tuslasne claims that Gillou’s knees are good to go for the US Open.
For any non-Simon fans, yes – he was having knee issues.
As always, the RF.com paparazzi got hold of pictures. The GOAT looked hot. And so did Roger!
Got a sweet tooth? How about a head full of chocolate swirls?
Enjoy the eye-sweets!
How do you learn to unlove this guy?
“It slipped away in the third set. I was just a little too nervous. It slipped away. I don’t have a grip on the important moments. I wanted it too much.
“I know what I have to do but it’s difficult. You know you don’t have it — it slips away and I feel it.”
That’s Marat bloody Safin for ya. Of course he couldn’t just lose. He had to take the second set, go up a break in the third and lose the next 6 games to surrender the match. Of course. And then he had to come up with nostalgically sad quotes to make you sniff at your computer screen.
Yeah Marat. Fuck you. Sniffles.
In other day 1 tidbits:
1) Would anyone explain what’s up with Marin Cilic? Defeated first match by Mikhail Youzhny 46 76(4) 61. Read: total third set implosion.
If this doesn’t raise alarm bells for you – he lost to Somdev Devvarman first match in Washington last week.
That right. Somdev Devvarman.
2) Not since Fed and Stan’s campfire rituals has doubles tennis drawn this much attention. Rafa’s back folks, and nothing speaks “I’m back!?” more than sleeveless shirts, crooked game-face and lusty biceps. Since I really wasn’t a fan of the insidious attempt to change Rafa’s unique image in the first place, I applaud the return of the sleeveless shirt as much as I applaud the man in it.
Rafa and his dinosaur doubles partner won in straight sets against Djokovic and doubles specialist Vermic. Didn’t catch the match of course, but considering their competition, I’d say this was a pretty good start for Rafa. I’d like to see him do well in Montreal, even if he doesn’t win it. I can’t handle the thought of Rafa as the No 3 player behind Murray. Or the thought of Federer and Nadal playing in the semifinal of the US Open against each other.
3) Roger, who was scheduled to play on Day 2, used his time wisely to strut his pink practice shirt, and the most pathetic left arm of all time.
Dude, don’t you remember what happened when the last World No 1 wore pink? Take it off!
The Fed is due to face local fave Niemeyer next round. Niemeyer has played Federer once previously, losing 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in 1998. Yes. That would be the 90s. So how will the Quebecois fair against the Fed this time, 11 years down the track?
Naturally, he hoped for some intervention from the Mighty Babes.
“I also played a tournament when my daughter was 2 weeks, and I didn’t sleep very much that week,” Niemeyer said. “He has two (kids), so hopefully he doesn’t sleep at all.”
I can so imagine: the night before a US Open semifinal clash with Nadal – Myla and Charlene wouldn’t stop screaming their lungs out …
Let the frazzling begin!