How did ‘e do zaaaaat?
At some point in our lives as tennis fans, all of us have taken a look at Roger Federer, with his bouncy curls, swooshy polos and trophy-studded life, pulling off an impossible shot while skipping through fields of tulips, and wondered out loud to ourselves:
How did ‘e do zaaaaat?
These questions have come far more often in 2012 than in previous years. It has been pleasantly surprising to discover that even as time takes away some aspects of our former talents, we can still get better. This year, Roger Federer has reacquired that leech-like ability to simply cling onto his opponents for survival, no matter how hard they try to pull him off. Read More…
Since I’ve been gone …
Since I took a break after the Aus Open, I have been traveling, frolicking, working, and generally going through a shopping list of mundane chores that inevitably arrives in the last few weeks of my summer break. But with Wogie and his incredible moobs set to return to the scene next week in Dubai, tennis beckoned and I came running back like a long-lost lover yearning for some desperate sexytimez.
Oh yeth, La Doots is open for business again, bitches! Grumpier, pornier and more abusive than ever. AND SEXYTIMEZ WE HAVE. RIGHT HERE: courtesy of Credit Suisse.
And it is also courtesy of Credit Suisse that we have this video of Wogie, speaking about being a success … or something along those lines.
(Actually, I have no idea what he was speaking about in the video. It was kinda hard to concentrate when the top two buttons of his shirt were invitingly undone. Moving on …)
Cheek-pinchers, line up in A SINGLE FILE BEHIND ME. When we’re done with those rosy cheeks, Wogie McFed’s face will be as swollen as his Uranus-sized ego. Kidding, kidding! I love him. And his Uranus.
Wogie: “You like my **air quotations**? Andy Roddick taught me how to use them. Like ‘Andy and I have a great **rivalry**’. ‘Novak Djokovic has **ear cramps**’. ‘Fernando Verdasco plays **real tennis**.’ ‘Andy Murray will **win a slam**’ … oh wait, am I still doing it right?”
In actual tennis news: I have no idea what’s going on.
Except for that fact that Milos Raonic is causing half the tennis world to go ape shits over him and his MASSIVE NOSTRILS. Nostrils large enough, in fact, to contain SORE LOSERS shaped like Fernando Verdasco.
“For me that’s not a real match in tennis. I hope to play soon against him in clay court to show him what it is to play tennis, and play rallies, and run, and not [just] serve.
“I think he was more lucky than me in the tiebreak. He hit the line at 5-5 with a return and when you are at that point in the match and are lucky to put a ball on the line then you have big options to win the match.” – Fernando Verdasco
I’m sorry, Nando. So clay court slugfests = “real” tennis now, eh? Poor Sampras. By your logic, he now has no “real” slams and 14 phoney, counterfeit ones. Wogie only has one of the real deal. And your pal Rafael Nadal fares better, but hey, poor him too! I mean, what was he THINKING? Going off to improve his serve for surfaces people outside Spain actually give a shit about.
As for Raonic, we’ve been waiting so long for the next generation of tennis players to “arrive” that you almost expected a degree of hype and backlash against any new kid on the block, and I’ve seen evidence of both.
Personally, I neither like nor dislike Raonic. His style of play – efficient and no-frills as it may be – ultimately boils down to the serve, the IN-YO-EFFING-FACE mentality and a healthy dose of je ne sais quoi. It’s not artistic, it’s not spectator-oriented. You won’t catch any Rafa-like gets or Federersque stunts. But dude knows how to win. What more do you want?
And in any case, we can do a lot worse for this sport than a straight-talking, big-serving breakout kid from a North American country starved of tennis darlings. But perhaps it’s best that we all wait until the hype and backlash die down before we decide whether to book a seat on the Raonic bandwagon.
Oh, and in case you’ve been living under a rock:
- Raonic is in his second ATP final this week in Memphis against Roddick, who took out the So-Top-200 Juan Martin del Poop for the first time in his career.
- Cilic and Kuznetsova kept on winning after the Australian Open for a change, and are both in tournament finals this week (Marseille and Dubai respectively).
- Soderling is in yet another final in France (Marseille). Dude should just be given honourary citizenship there.
- On the vaginal side of things, Carol was like the No 1, then Kim was like “the real No 1”, then Carol was, like, back to No 1, and all the while I was like, No 1 in my lunch box.
And here’s what you missed in the last 3 weeks.
Aus Open Days 7-8: Weekend Blues
The end of Week 1 always makes me a blue.
The first week of the Aus Open has a village fair atmosphere to it, so full of youth and vibrancy. People come for the tennis, but also for star-gazing, freebies, amusement park-styled stalls, and a little rock-and-roll with the live bands.
By the second week, the smell of sausages is gradually replaced with the smell of gun-power … or Dootsie’s hair on fire. This is serious business bitches. So serious, that it must be spelt SRS BSNS.
Anyone heard John Isner’s Barmy Army at the Aus Open?
Here they are. In their own universe, it all made sense.
So getting down to the SRS BSNS: I spent my entire weekend right where I spent the last one: at Melbourne Park, making it 9 consecutive days of dawn to dusk tennis, and by close of play on Sunday, I was bleeding yellow fuzz coming of my nostrils.
There is such a thing as tennistical overkill, after all.
1. Canadian tennis. It like … exists or something.
As of Sunday night, when Andy Roddick was whipped off the court by the Wawrinka backhand, Milos Raonic became the only “North American” left in both the men and women’s draw. He eventually ran out of steam today against Ferrer, losing in 4 sets after taking the first emphatically, but I saw him earlier, against Youzhny, where he clobbered the Headclobber with icy power.
Not much not to like – massive serve, attacking, purposeful baseline game with a good affinity to the net – an unfortunate resemblance to Mark the Poo. Let’s hope Milos has more motivation and less of a penchant for reality TV than Scud.
The only thing I’m sure I’ll grow to dislike: hearing his migrant family story over and over again in the years to come.
2. New balls, pwease.
Sometimes I wonder what would happen one day when I lose my Swiss muse. As much as I love tennis, words just flow more when I write about McWoger – or rather – they burst through a dam of angst, anger and adoration.
But new faces are focussing out of the blur too – faces that I think I could get used to:
- Cilic Peppers, despite losing erratically to Rafa last night, is looking less like an empty shell and more like the shot-twisting stick insect that he was one year ago.
- Dolgopolurrrve seems to have caught the annual Aussie Open giant-slaying bug, literally slaying the gigantic Tsonga and Soderling. I remember the first time I ever saw his name at last year’s Brisbane International: “how on earth did Bernanrd Tomic lose to someone named Oleksandr Dolgopolov Jnr?” I asked. I don’t think anyone would be saying that after the spirited performance he put on against Soderling yesterday.
- The Petkorazzi, newly crowned Miss Popularity of the Aussie Open, danced on the grave of Maria Sharapova after defeating her in straight sets. As much as I hate to admit it, Shazza has completely lost the zinging presence she used to have on court – her movement exploited, her power matched, but her mind and spirit as eager as ever. As a fan, it’s been a hard journey watching her attempt to rediscover her slam-winning form pre-injury, a journey that del Potro fans will take in the coming year.
- Petra Kvitova, shotmaking brilliant in its sheer randomness, eyes shining with desire and determination. Sam Stosur couldn’t have done much more to neutralise the deluge, and mercifully, most of the Australian media have picked up on this assessment.
- Bernard Tomic, almost universally disliked in tennis fandom, deserved a lot of credit for the pressure he unexpectedly exerted on Nadal. I wonder if sometimes, it takes a little bit of brattishness to be nonchalant to the occasion of playing the top seed and one of the great guys on the ATP tour. As for his style of play, until he moves with the kind of cat-like court coverage that Murray brings to the game, I think we can stop with that comparison. If anything, Tomic plays like Marin Cilic with greater variation.
None of them stirs up the kind of dam-bursting desire to blog that Wogie McFed does, perhaps I won’t find another muse like him for a long time, but they are reasons to keep watching and keep returning to the moving tides of tennis, to see if these tiny ripples converge into tidal waves of awesome further down stream.
3. THE MATCH.
I could come up with a wittier tag line, but I think CAPSLOCK suffices to express my awe. You know you’ve just witness something that transcends tennis when your non-tennis following friends ring you to let you know, “I just saw the most amazing tennis match …”
There is a difference (or so I’ve always felt) between fearlessness and bravery, being not just the mere absence of fear. Sometimes, it is precisely brave to overcome your fear, to play through it and live dangerously. To paraphrase a well-known truism, “it is better to have fought and lost than to have never fought at all.”
And third set between Schiavone and Kuznetsova epitomised this sentiment to poignantly. Neither wanted to lose, both struggled physically and mentally to hold and to convert match points. Yet neither relied on the other to hand the match over on a silver plait. Neither stopped making their shots, swinging for the fences. Neither stopped attacked, or fell back into their comfort zone. The longer the match went for (the clock finally stopped at 4:44), the more they put on the line. Winner takes all, loser is left with nothing but the tale of a lifetime.
Unlike the Petkorazzi or Kvitova, there was no merry dance to celebrate this fight to death; there was no youthful, eager spark in the eyes of either woman, a desire to prove oneself on a big stage for the first time in their career. Sveta and Franny played with such bravery, maturity and hearts of steel that they made the contrast between girl and woman on the WTA tour an incredible sight to behold in a single tournament.
Perhaps the best moment after the match was when Svetlana Kuznetsova logged onto Twitter after the match with this tweet:
i was worryed that i gaig one kg…i think i ve lost it)))
It takes a giant well of optimism to joke about your own heartache.
4. The Outsider
The amount of Wawrinka-hate I am being exposed to in tennis fandom these days is making me sick.
Such is the absurdity of human existence, that when a man decides, for whatever reason UNKNOWN to us, to end a relationship and inform the world of it, our first reaction is to judge. Our second – to hate. Our third – to wish a fellow human being ill. As my nan would say, if you haven’t got anything nice to say to that, don’t fucking speak at all.
At the end of the day, Wawrinka is a tennis player. What he chooses to do with his private life is none of our fucking business. He’s never going to be the next Mister Family Man, but without cheating on court, without bringing an inexcusable attitude to tennis, I had no reason not to cheer him on as he played like a man possessed to dismiss Roddick, hitting a total of 67 winners to 19 unforced errors.
I hope Wogie McFed saw the stats sheet.
Montreal Day 2: Canadian Tennis – it, like, exists or something.
How do you say “GO TIM” in Canadian?
I didn’t expect any of the Canucks other than Dancevic to put up a decent fight in Montreal. Ironically, Dancy was the only one who went down not with a bang but a whimper.
Djokovic def. Polansky 6-4, 7-6 (6)
The match was wrapping up as I woke up here in Aus and from the little I saw, Djokovic was playing error-strewn tennis, at times looking frustrated that the crowd wasn’t on his side. But that’s Nole for ya – not exactly a player with a lot of security.
But it’s his first match since Wimbledon, so I’d cut him some slack as long as he ups his level later in the week. I need Djoko to prevent Toothface from robbing the No 2 spot.
Federer def. Niemeyer 7- 6 (3) 6-4
A bit of an ambiguous match and the reports tend to fall into two categories: some reporters and commentators positively purred at Federer’s performance, while others thought Roger struggled throughout the match against a guy ranked outside the top 400.
The reality falls somewhere in between – for it was actually quite solid.
Roger served unbelievably well, and was never really troubled throughout the match. But at the same time, Federer had the occasional heavy feet and very little rhythm until the end of the second set, when he produced a few of his usual “complimentary wow-wow shots”. It ain’t breezy, but it sure as hell ain’t bad either.
Credit to Niemeyer though – the guy was playing some pretty gutsy tennis, and why wouldn’t he? When this was effectively his swan song in front of a home crowd against the world No 1. A fairy tale ending to an unremarkable career.
Warm fuzzies: Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Best moment of the match was the happy embrace between the players after the match. It gave me the warm-fuzzies to see Roger let Niemeyer soak in his home crowd’s applause, before walking off with him together.
What a sneaky arrogant asshole! You know he’s just campaigning for his next Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award.
Gonzalez def Raonic 4-6 7-6 6-4.
Who is Milos Raonic and why was he so friggin good?
Tough for the 18 year old Canadian that no one’s ever heard of. He played some fantabulous, composed tennis, had match point on Gonzo during the second set tiebreak, only to lose it in three sets.
An admirable effort by the Babyface, he sadly reminded me of Gulbis two years ago. And if he keeps playing at that level, I’m going to have to learn to spell his name.
Murray def. Chardy 6-4 6-2.
Nothing more to say about this: best first round performance out of all the title contenders this tournament, which doesn’t say much about what’s to come of course.
There is more than just the title at stake for Murray in Montreal – he will overtake Nadal as the world No 2 if he wins the tournament, or reaches the final with Rafa losing in the semis.
Sorry to any Muz fans, but for the sake of normalcy in my tennis universe, Toothface cannot be World No 2. NO.
Ferrero def. Hewitt 6-1 6-4.
Didn’t see this one at all, but it seemed that Hewitt was bothered by a leg injury he sustained last week in Washington. JCF is still solid since Wimbledon and has a decent chance of being seeded for the US Open if he continues to play great tennis.
I could be reading too much into these presscons, but this was just awkward:
Q. Have you been watching Kim’s comeback at all?
LLEYTON HEWITT: No, no.
Last unrelated tidbit – It’s the 12th August, which calls for a chorus of “happy birthday” to the other GOAT – Pete Sampras. Funny how Federer, Laver and Pete were all born within four days of each other. Now that’s good company.
Your thoughts …