Tag Archive | Radek Stepanek

Weekly Mosaics: go thug yourself!

Mirror mirror on the wall,

Who’s the fugliest of them all? 












Yes folks, those are indeed the new mug shots the ATP put up on its website for their players’ profiles. Were the instructions “pretend the photographer’s Etienne de Villiers?”

Epic success.


Go-Thug-Yourself Honourable Mention: Fernando Gonzalez for his “big eye small eye” stare-down. 

Go-Thug-Yourself Third Place: Gilles Simon, for his drug mule impersonation. 

Go-Thug-Yourself Second Place: Jo-Willy Tsonga, for managing to make his face look so out of proportion that it’s medically alarming

Go-Thug-Yourself Grand Prize: Radek Stepanek, for perfectly capturing the sultry, sexy fug that the ATP photographer was aiming for. 


And congratulations to the photographer for making Roger Federer, who incidentally has the best skin, look like he has forehead acne instead of sweat beads. That takes serious skills. 


*rapturous applause*

xx doots


Weekly Mosaics: Sexbomb Sexbomb. You’re my Sexbomb

Here’s looking at you, Radek Stepanek, in all your mutant sexbomb glory. (Czech def Argentina 3-2)



Oh yeth, it’s the Davis Cup again. Whose smart idea was it to play Davis Cup the week  after Wimbledon? 3 best of five set tournaments in 7 weeks, talk about an overkill. 


Spain def Germany 3-2.


Fact # 1: Feliciano Lopez is a bromantic. 

Fact #2: It is my lifelong ambition to be jammed in the middle of Spanish bromantics.  

Fact #3: In case you missed it, Spain won their fifth live rubber because Mosquito was awesome.



Fact #5: Nando doesn’t have a monkey face. *sad*



What’s a monkey face you ask? Stare at it long enough and it might wink back! 



Croatia def USA 3-2.


Fact #5: Marin Cilic wore a picnic blanket, and made a wonderful team leader.  

Fact #6: Nice guys can play crap tennis. Here’s looking at you, James Blake. Two sets to love up against Karlovic and still managed to lose the match, REALLY?



Israel def Russia 4-1


Fact #7: the Safin Heartbreak Train rolls on. Of course he couldn’t just lose in straight sets in the doubles rubber, he had to come back from 2 sets to love to take it to a fifth set, and then lose. That’s Marat Safin for ya.  

Fact #8: The Israeli Davis Cup team played such inspired tennis that a Hollywood biopic needs to be made about it. 

Fact #9: They’re NOT going to beat Spain at home in the semifinal.

Fact #10: Contrary to popular belief, these are not Federer fans. 



All images via Dailylife

Final Tidbits: Goodbye to all that.

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?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Roger is doing all right for our generation. We’ll just hang on to him at the moment.


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?

Damn it.

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) 

Source: l’equipe


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.

Source: Reuters


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. 


xx doots

Wimbledon Day 6 Tidbits: Time, Truth and Heart.

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



Images via Yahoo UK & Ireland

Worrying is a good thing.

I present to you my newly revised “Worries List”, originally posted on the 12th April 2009. Oh how things have changed!

For starters, my top 2 worries are gone. I must worry more. 



Dootsie’s Top 10 Tennis-Induced Worries

  1. I worry that Roger Federer will implode mentally,  plummet down the rankings and/or finish his career with ‘only’ 13 slams.  Slam #14 baby!!!
  2. I worry that Maria Sharapova’s screwed-up shoulders will take her out of the game for good. In fact, as a fan of Maria, I am just about to hit the panic button on that one. Roland Garros QF, OH YETH! 
  3. I worry that the Williams sisters will retire from the game before the WTA manages to find its “Second Coming” to dominate the next generation. – umm still worrying about that, but props to Safina for almost dissipating my doubts. 
  4. I worry that Jo-Willy Tsonga will suffer freakish injuries or sustained mental funks and fail to live up to his potential at the grand slam level. – remains to be seen, but not so worried now, given his reasonable Roland Garros performance.  
  5. I worry that in 5 years time, we will look back on Reeshard Gasquet’s career and realise that its highlight was (and will remain) Wimbledon 2007. – Worry already materialised. Hence off the list. 
  6. I worry that the WTA may have many more slamless No 1s in the near future, and I worry even more that all of them will remain slamless throughout their careers. 
  7. Though it’s getting harder and harder to worry about Rafael Nadal these days, I do worry that his body will give up on him unexpectedly and cut what could’ve been a long GOAT-contending career short. Dude works it like a mule. – HOLY SHIT! 
  8. As an Australian, I worry that in 3 years time, Lleyton Hewitt will still be Australia’s best hope at tennis glory, which happens to equate to no hope at all. – Stosur made her run at Roland Garros. 
  9. I worry that Novak Djokovic will have a Chang-like career against one of the strongest fields we’ve seen in tennis for a while. I worry that whilst he may reach grand slam finals, semifinals, win non-slam titles again, and always remain in contention, he will end up stagnating on that single slam. Oh, and I don’t worry about Andy Murray, period. – written at a time when Djokovic was still in his funk. Am now no longer worry about the Djoker.
  10. I worry  that in 10 years time, S&Vers will belong in the same class as dinosaurs – extinct species. – Yup. 


Those that didn’t make it into the Top 10, in no particular order

  • I worry that Daveed Nalbandian will retire and be remembered as one of the greatest underachievers in the history of this sport, but that has probably already materialised. – It has. Nalbandian down with hip injury, don’t expect much from him now. 
  • I worry that Andy Roddick may one day get inducted into the Hall of Fame, but Fabrice Santoro won’t. 
  • I worry that Sveta Kuznetsova may break (or have already broken) the record for the most number of consecutive career finals lost. – YEEHAW! Roland Garros champ babyyy!
  • I worry even more that Federer may break (or have already broken) the one for the most number of consecutive career finals lost to the same person. – YEEHAW! Madrid champion over Nadal on clay babyy!!
  • I worry that after the retirement of Marat Safin (and before him, Goran), we may never have a character as gorgeous, funny, endearingly inappropriate, and larger-than-life in tennis again. 
  • I worry that Ana Ivanovic will fist-pump her way down the rankings (as no doubt she will by Roland Garros) but never come back up again. – Yup.
  • I worry that Jelena Jankovic will never get her happy-splits back and finish her career like the Nalbandians of this world. 
  • I worry that Caroline Wozniacki will “do a Vaidisova”, and fade into self-doubt and distraction before realising her tennis potential. – Shit.  
  • I worry that Radek Stepanek will fist-pump, lawn-mow, and worm-dance his way to a major title. Or worse, start dating Caroline Wozniacki. – Written at a time when Stepanek was on a minor roll in the Tier II tournaments, and there was no news of Woz’s engagement
  • I worry that Nando Verdasco will follow Gonzalez’s footsteps after his Australian Open run, and slump into Tier II mediocrity again. – Perhaps


Ah – the benefit of hindsight …

Tennis Woes: Dootsie’s Tennis Worries List

Sunday is usually ‘wrap-up’ day here at Picket Fence where I muse on the hot-or-nots of the past week. This week however, thanks to the fabulous idea of Freakyfrites from GTT, Sunday is officially ‘Worry Day’, where I shall answer the intriguing question – “What do you worry about in the Tennis World?




So here is my list of woeful, woeful worries. TennisKADs Anonymous, in the words of Rafael Nadal, do you feelan indescribable emptiness and a loneliness”? Do you lose sleep at night? Or grow weird warts in even weirder places? Got yourself a tennis worry? Excrete it here! Get it out of your system and stink up the place with your angst. And when tennis begins again next week, we shall have cleansed our system of woes and move on as glitter-loving happy campers again.


 Dootsie’s Top 10 Tennis-Induced Worries

  1. I worry that Roger Federer will implode mentally,  plummet down the rankings and/or finish his career with ‘only’ 13 slams. 
  2. I worry that Maria Sharapova‘s screwed-up shoulders will take her out of the game for good. In fact, as a fan of Maria, I am just about to hit the panic button on that one. 
  3. I worry that the Williams sisters will retire from the game before the WTA manages to find its “Second Coming” to dominate the next generation. 
  4. I worry that Jo-Willy Tsonga will suffer freakish injuries or sustained mental funks and fail to live up to his potential at the grand slam level.
  5. I worry that in 5 years time, we will look back on Reeshard Gasquet’s career and realise that its highlight was (and will remain) Wimbledon 2007.
  6. I worry that the WTA may have many more slamless No 1s in the near future, and I worry even more that all of them will remain slamless throughout their careers. 
  7. Though it’s getting harder and harder to worry about Rafael Nadal these days, I do worry that his body will give up on him unexpectedly and cut what could’ve been a long GOAT-contending career short. Dude works it like a mule.
  8. As an Australian, I worry that in 3 years time, Lleyton Hewitt will still be Australia’s best hope at tennis glory, which happens to equate to no hope at all.
  9. I worry that Novak Djokovic will have a Chang-like career against one of the strongest fields we’ve seen in tennis for a while. I worry that whilst he may reach grand slam finals, semifinals, win non-slam titles again, and always remain in contention, he will end up stagnating on that single slam. Oh, and I don’t worry about Andy Murray, period.
  10. I worry  that in 10 years time, S&Vers will belong in the same class as dinosaurs – extinct species. 


Those that didn’t make it into the Top 10, in no particular order

  • I worry that Daveed Nalbandian will retire and be remembered as one of the greatest underachievers in the history of this sport, but that has probably already materialised. 
  • I worry that Andy Roddick may one day get inducted into the Hall of Fame, but Fabrice Santoro won’t. 
  • I worry that Sveta Kuznetsova may break (or have already broken) the record for the most number of consecutive career finals lost. 
  • I worry even more that Federer may break (or have already broken) the one for the most number of consecutive career finals lost to the same person
  • I worry that after the retirement of Marat Safin (and before him, Goran), we may never have a character as gorgeous, funny, endearingly inappropriate, and larger-than-life in tennis again. 
  • I worry that Ana Ivanovic will fist-pump her way down the rankings (as no doubt she will by Roland Garros) but never come back up again.
  • I worry that Jelena Jankovic will never get her happy-splits back and finish her career like the Nalbandians of this world. 
  • I worry that Caroline Wozniacki will “do a Vaidisova”, and fade into self-doubt and distraction before realising her tennis potential. 
  • I worry that Radek Stepanek will fist-pump, lawn-mow, and worm-dance his way to a major title. Or worse, start dating Caroline Wozniacki.
  • I worry that Nando Verdasco will follow Gonzalez’s footsteps after his Australian Open run, and slump into Tier II mediocrity again. 


So please tell me now, TennisKADs Anonymous, that all my worries are petty, unnecessary or simply errors of judgment. And click here to read Freakyfrite’s worry list.

Early Wrap-up: Remember me, bitch?

Despite having 5 tournaments on this week, it feels like we haven’t had much tennis. Or maybe it’s just that we haven’t had much good tennis. In any case, I’m doing a small weekly wrap up now while some tournaments are still underway. 





Okay, get this – it’s not very often that I root for Novak Djokovic. He’s just not my cuppa tea. But after his recent funks, I’ve decided that I kinda feel sorry for the guy. This time last year, many had him, not Nadal, down as the one who eventually would dethrone Federer. He had multiple chances to rise one spot to No 2, but blew them all, at first to Nadal and Federer, but then to much lesser players. With Indian Wells coming up and Murray ominously good, I figured the Djoker could do with a little compassionate support from dootsiez. So despite the fact that he was playing one of my favourite players, I decided to root for the Serb for a change, a H2H of 2-3 sounds a lot better than 1-4. But alas, it wasn’t meant to be.


For the most part, Djokovic didn’t play a bad match – he created a lot of chances for himself, but converted none at the end of the day. The swagger he had in his stride this time last year was missing during the match, and has been for quite sometime now. 


Not to take anything away from Tsonga of course. Four consecutive victories over the Djoker, you’ll excuse the guy for holding his chin up high. And the more I watch him play, the more I love him. It’s one thing to make artistic, puritanical tennis look good, it’s quite another to make power tennis look this stylish and mixed up with some occasional touch. Hope he earns his second title of the year in Marseille this week, he’ll be playing an all French final against Llodra, who took down second seeded Giles Simon. Allez Jojo.



And how about Venus Williams? Of course the final result in Dubai was a foregone conclusion – no one expected Virginie to take down Venus, but that’s not what I wanted to talk about. What needed to be mentioned is that I have never been so impressed with the level of commitment to tennis from the Williams sisters. They’ve played a ridiculous number of tournaments this year by their usual standards, and thank God for it. With Ivanovic and Jankovic taking turns in finding and then losing themselves, it’s nice to see some cool customers left to shine in the women’s game.





Talk about cool customers, Wozniacki and Azarenka, the No 1 and 2 seeds in Memphis are both through to the finals. And being the bandwagon-hoarder that I am, I’m torn between the Danish Delight and Baby Sharapova. The former has more style but the latter more fight and feist. Let’s hope it turns out to be a great match at least.


While the women’s side of things was dominated by teenagers in Memphis, the men’s tournament saw the return of some old favourites in a Roddick v Hewitt semifinal. Roddick barely made it out alive. Indeed the stats will show that Hewitt was the better player in the match. He won more points in the match than Roddick, he converted (2/7) and saved (8/9) more breakpoints than Roddick, 32% of points won on return compared to Roddick’s 29%, onto scarier stats – 14 aces all up, outdone only by a margin of 2 by Roddick (16 aces), 2 double faults compared to 3 from ARod, 71% to 68% for points won on serve. Looking at these stats, you may wonder how Hewitt even lost the match – a poor tiebreaker in the second set. It’s tough to lose a match this way but it should get better with more match play. Hewitt’s played some inspired tennis this week. He said at the beginning of the year that he wanted to get back into the Top 10, and the good news is that it still looks like a doable goal at this point. 


Meanwhile, the Worm is in his second consecutive final, going for his 3rd title of the year. I don’t even want to talk about it because it disturbs me. Since we’re on the unpleasantries, allow me to have some death glares delivered to Buenos Aires, addressed to a certain Mr. D. Nalbandian who lost to Monaco over night. 


Onto some other news, the field for the ATP Dubai event next week continues to deflate as defending champion Andy Roddick pulled out yesterday. I for one am glad he did. Logistically, I never got why American players would ditch their perfectly convenient, well-organised winter hard court circuit to fly all the way to Dubai for a week or less, and then fly back in time for Indian Wells. The $2.2 million prize money pool should’ve given me a hint. But Andy clearly doesn’t need the money, nor does he need the points actually, he’s been doing a lot better than he was this time last year, so save yourself the trouble and work on that Davis Cup tie. God forbid the US should lose now that Federer‘s pulled out. 


Good news for Fed fans though. He’s been spotted on Planet Earth again, doing promotions for Jura and talking about how he wants to play til the age of 35. Yes, 35. Watch out Fabrice Santoro


Roger Federer said on Thursday he wants to continue playing until he’s 35

By John McAuley on Saturday, February 21, 2009 

Roger Federer’s absence from the Dubai Tennis Championships will have a few tennis stars breathing a sigh of relief, but the former world No1 issued an ominous statement of intent in the emirate on Thursday.

The four-time Dubai champion pulled out of the tournament last week because of a back injury first sustained towards the close of last season and has indicated he will need at least a month to recuperate.

Yet he fired a warning to those who think the titanic tennis talent is on the wane.

“I’m still fairly young in tennis terms and I’ve still got many years ahead of me,” said the 27-year-old. “The most important thing is to stay healthy so I can chase my dreams. I’m so disappointed I’m not playing in Dubai, but I’m very confident and positive about this year.

“Despite the injury, I feel a lot better this year to what I did last year. I’m only going to play again when I’m 100 per cent fit, whereas last year I played many matches when I wasn’t feeling great. That’s going to make a big difference for me, both now and also for the following years.”

That Federer is thinking long-term will strike a chord with the rest of the men’s game – he is chasing down Pete Sampras’ record 14 Grand Slams and was disappointed to not equal the milestone in his last match.


[Factual paragraphs ommitted]


Roland Garros in May provides Federer’s next chance to secure his 14th Grand Slam title, the only major the world No2 has failed to win since joining the professional circuit in 1998. … If Federer were to add the missing link, he would surely be considered the greatest tennis player of all time. The tag does not sit well with him, however.

“We don’t know the greatest of all time,” he said. “But I think that’s the beauty of tennis. Who even knows how many matches I’m going to win, or if I’ll win the French Open? It would definitely enhance my career and make it even more incredible for me than it already is. It would make it more special to be the greatest of all time, yet I’m not really sure what that would take. I’m very proud to already be up there and have a lot more time left to achieve even more. That’s why I’m excited about the future.

“I want to play as long as I can and that’s where I draw inspiration from Andre Agassi who played through many generations. I’ve already played against Sampras and Agassi, then [Andy] Roddick, [Leyton] Hewitt and [Marat] Safin in my generation and now I’m playing Nadal, [Novak] Djokovic and [Andy] Murray.

“And we’ve already got a new generation coming through, and after that maybe there’ll be another one. Every five years you have a new generation, which is interesting for tennis and I’d like to stay around for a while yet. 

“We’ve got the Olympics in 2012 and getting the singles gold in London – which will be held on the grass at Wimbledon – would be a proud moment for me.

“So I’ll hopefully play until I’m 35, which is seven or eight years from now,” added Federer, who took gold for Switzerland in the doubles at the Beijing Olympics last August. “I’m setting my goals long-term.” 

Source: Business 24/7



Yay for us, Roger.

All hail the sisters!

So it wasn’t their best match against each other, but compared to the forgotten semifinal between Razzano and Kanepi, or the matches we’ve been getting all week in Dubai, it was pretty damn good, and by the end of it, it was Venus Williams that surged ahead to lead their rivalry 10-9. Despite her poor result at the Australian Open, I’m sticking to my prediction that good things should happen for Venus Williams this year. Is there really any debate in the women’s game as to who’s got the best serve? Wow. 



In other news, Casey D’s out with a shoulder injury and hopes to return to the tour in time for the French Open. I wish I cared really, but the girl’s fallen out of my good books unfortunately. 


On the men’s side of things, looks like I got what I wished for – a Djokovic v Tsonga showdown, where the Djoker will have the chance to redeem his 1-3 H2H against Baby Ali. Nalbandian is cruising through Buenos Aires, as he should be against a field this weak. And over in Memphis, the Worm continues to disturb me as he took down Del Potro to reach the semifinals once again. Dude’s like the “Nadal” of the ATP second tier right now, and never has a comparison sounded so wrong. 


Mentioning Nadal – karma’s a bitch, and it looks like the Dubai tournament is getting some karma thrown right back in their face with the withdrawal of the men’s Big 2 from the tournament – pure coincidence of course that both of them happened to have minor physical issues worthy of some medical attention and rest, but suddenly, the field for next week’s ATP tournament is looking rather deflated. To add salt to the wound, the WTA is imposing its largest ever fine of US$300,000 on the tournament for the Peer incident, all this just after the UAE ironically granted Andy Ram entry visa into the country. 


Meanwhile, the tennis media is still waiting (and baiting) for Roger Federer to say something about the incident. The  same people who declared the Fed and his “weak” era to be over are now calling for him to step forward and speak as the face of the sport. Yes, good luck with that. Fed has basically dropped off the face of the planet after the Australian Open, and I don’t expect to get a word out of him until Indian Wells. 


February 20, 2009 
Tennis Needs Roger Federer to Speak Out 
By Tim Joyce

…Tennis has been blessed with having as its custodian of the sport an articulate (fluent in five languages), intelligent, thoughtful and downright classy individual. Federer is peerless among contemporary athletes when it comes to engagement in the policies of one’s sport and sportsmanship. But Roger has been mute thus far regarding the current controversy.

In fact, Federer pulled out of the upcoming men’s tournament in Dubai citing a nagging back injury. Nothing from Federer’s background would suggest that he feigned injury to avoid speaking out on the issue in the country he spends so much time. And I don’t think he would ever do such a thing. But he must say something – his words would be invaluable. (Rafael Nadal pulled out of the event as well for a knee injury so perhaps the tournament is getting its comeuppance by having such a deflated field).

Even after the tournaments finish in Dubai, this controversy will linger. In an even odder and more disquieting move, Sweden has decided that for their Davis Cup match against Israel in March, the players will compete in an empty arena – literally no fans – due to security concerns regarding protests pertaining to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I’m sure the Swedish officials have their reasons but what kind of message is this sending? 

Roger, please say something.

Source: RealClearSports


As Roger remains in “splendid isolation”, one of the most lasting conspiracy theories in the men’s game, the Fed/Cahill collaboration, has resurfaced once again, mainly built up irresponsibly by the Australian media. We know for a fact that Cahill is working with Verdasco right now, so why revive the Roger Federer connection? As desperate we are here in Australia to adopt the Fed as one of our own, this is getting quite ridiculous. 


Darren Cahill linked to the Fed Express

February 20, 2009 12:30am

DARREN Cahill’s decision to stand down as Davis Cup coach has triggered speculation Roger Federer is poised to hire the South Australian.
[Paragraph omitted] …
But his sudden availability yesterday revived one of the most persistent conspiracy theories in tennis: that Federer will eventually recruit Cahill. World No. 2 Federer has previously worked with two other Australian coaches – Peter Carter and Tony Roche. Cahill yesterday could not be reached for comment on the matter.

Source: Adelaide Now


And lastly, a placebo for the Fedophiles – Federer’s trainer, Pierre Paganini has stepped out to confirm that the withdrawals were purely preventative. Of course with Federer, we never find out the true extent of his physical problems until after he’s finished dealing with them, like with mono last year, but it does sound like there’s not a whole lot to be concerned about, apart from the fact that Fed’s clearly a control freak when it comes to tennis and his own body. 


“Roger is not injured”

Pierre Paganini speaks about the problems and risks which Roger Federer faces. He thinks that it’s absurd to criticize his fitness.

BLICK: Mr Paganini, what’s the exact situation around Roger Federer? What is he doing?

PP: We give him time to rest at the moment. The work with the physiotherapists has been intensified. But – and I want to make this clear: Roger is not injured. What we do now is a plain prophylactic. Real work will be done in the next two weeks in Dubai. Roger has called two extra sparring partners so that he can work on the court as well. 

Was he fit in Melbourne?
Roger got injured in November. He recovered from that injury. Everything was OK in Melbourne. But the recovery of his back does not happen immediately after all the matches. It didn’t cause him problems while playing but there were additional factors that he didn’t have during his practice in the off season, like the trips, the pressure, etc. The reaction of the body during a match, in a stress situation is different. He felt that and that’s why we decided to make this break so that we could prevent any new injuries.

What can you learn from this? Should there be any changes? 
We realized that we should invest more time in the physio department. This is a priority between tournaments. Roger wants firmly and regardless of any other factors to take time with his body so that it can rise to the level of the stressful situations. 

Does this additional time mean less tournaments? 
No, it’s more about different planning and time management. We’ll organise everything even better so that we have the adequate care with the physios in Dubai, Switzerland or wherever it might be. 

Roger refused to play the DC. It must hurt you being a patriot but as a private fitness coach do you find this right?
Being a fitness coach I should always object when the body is concerned. It is obvious that Roger plays these matches as a team leader. He plays constantly under pressure on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This is very demanding on the body and Roger knows that it brings along a high level of risk.

Source: Blick

Translation: vrazkar from RF.com

Revenge is a dish best served cold.

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.”

Source: tennis.com


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.

Would you like me to wrap that up for you?

So I never did my usual 10,000 word tirade for the Australian Open. Truth be told, the tournament’s taken a bit more out of me than expected. To go from not knowing anything about what happened after Round 2 to images of Roger Federer sobbing his nose off on TV was a bit like diving into a whirlpool of angst. So instead of trying to sort through the emotional haystack, I gave it two weeks of rest. But it’s back to business as usual at Picket Fence and here’s the Hot-or-Nots of the week ending 16th February 2009.





Muzza hits Title No 10

Gotta love Tennis.com’s headline captions: “Andy Murray became the first player to defeat Rafael Nadal in over a month…” Correct me if I’m wrong, but Rafa’s only played Rotterdam and the Australian Open in the last month? I’m constantly amazed at journalists’ ability to create sensationalism out of nothing. 


How do I explain this? A win’s a win, and being the last man standing is always hot, but this is obviously not one of Murray’s best wins, primarily because neither Muz nor Rafa played their best tennis during the match, in fact, neither of them played particularly well the entire tournament save for their respective semifinals. Don’t know what more to say really: 10 titles at his age, not bad. Pity none of them are grand slams. 


Rafa plays on.

Rafael Nadal doesn’t have the cleanest record when it comes to retirements and withdrawals, but not a lot of people would hold it against him. If he thinks he’s still got something left in him, he’ll play on, and when he does retire, you can bet your bottom dollar that there’ll be a legitimate reason for it. Someone send a tape of the match to Novak Djokovic please? 


The Record lives on

If Rafa gets few thumbs up for playing on despite his injury, so should James Blake, who chose to play against Mardy Fish even though he rolled his ankle in his previous match against Querrey. Blake and Federer are the only two guys in the Top 10 to have never retired mid-match in their careers. It doesn’t mean a whole lot, but it means something. 


MoMo’s back. Shhhhh…

Like I said in the previous post, I’ve long put Mauresmo in the same basket as my other “tortured artists”, namely Safin, Nalbandian, and Gasquet. The general policy for the T.A’s is to pretend to ignore them, but quietly enjoy when they do find the art within. Without raising expectations, I must say that I do appreciate the effort Mauresmo’s put in with her new-ish coach to get her game back to a good level. MoMo can be quite “Federer-esque” when she’s on, and it’ll be a sad day for women’s tennis when she decides to hang up her racquets. 


Foetus Fed serves notice

Oh yeth.


Dimitrov had a few tennis purists purring this week with his spirited performances against Berdych and Nadal. I did manage to youtube the first set of his match against Rafa plus a few more highlights and from what I saw, the guy moves very well for a 17 year old, big serve, even bigger forehand, not to mention that single handed backhand which has become a rarity in the men’s game these days. Some have compared him to a Federer junior. I myself dubbed him “Foetus Fed”, but maybe Mikhail Youzhny is a better comparison. In any case, best to forget about this one and let him develop in peace. It’s not too late to jump on the bandwagon in 2 years time if it looks any good. God knows too many junior champs never quite make it in the “real world”.


The Quiet Russian 

It’s tough being a female Russian tennis player these days. Compared to the Dementievas, Kuznetsovas and Sharapovas of this world, Vera Zvonareva often fades into the background. But whereas Dementieva and Kuznetsova can be classified as the underachievers of the women’s game given their potential, Zvonareva is their exact antithesis. Every time I see her name in a semifinal, final or as the winner of a tournament, it seems to take me by surprise, as if at the back of my mind I expected her to fall to some minor floater long before she even makes it to the tail end of a tournament. But as in life, often it’s the quite ones who overachieve. Congratulations to her on winning her first title of 2009. 


The Worm wins his second title… THIS YEAR

Generally, having the Worm’s name displayed anywhere near the vicinity of the word “Hot” should be made a crime. But Radek Stepanek has four ATP titles so far in his career, 2 of them won just this year, and in case you needed a reminder – it’s February. I’m a little disturbed. 


Actually a familiar pattern is beginning to emerge here. I happened to have livestreamed 5 of his matches at two tournaments that he’s won this year – against Soderling, Gasquet and Verdasco in Brisbane, and against Roddick and Fish in San Jose this week. The common theme in all those matches is that each time Stepanek has gotten completely blown off the court in the first set, each time, he’s managed to inch his way back into the second set and win it by a narrow margin. And each and every time, he went on to stepped up the antics in the third set – Tipsarevic-styled grunts, fist pumps, worm dances and celebratory fox trots – until his opponents’ body language began to wane. They started to complain to the umpire, to yell at themselves or simply to smash perfectly good racquets in frustration. Here’s a guy who knows how to get into his opponents’ heads, and he’s not bashful enough to restrain himself from resorting to his demeanour and body language to win a match.


I generally prefer simple good tennis over all on-court antics, and I certainly don’t consider it “honourable” I suppose to purposely resort to demoralising or intimidating your opponent to win a match. But Andy Murray is the only other guy on tour with two titles this year, so what do I know? 


Ana gets a coach

I’ve already written about it this week, but YAY again!  


Not Hot


The UAE gets political

So here’s the thing about Dubai: it’s a modern, metropolitan city full of people from all over the world. The city has a very clear vision for itself – it wants to be the sports mecca of the world. It wants the likes of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to go there each year for an ATP 500 tournament that pays almost as much in prize money as some of the ATP 1000s, or people like Tiger Woods to build world class golf courses in the city to attract big names and their bigger sponsors. But all it takes is one denial of visa to remind us all of what lurks underneath its liberal capitalist facade.


Of course, a country is perfectly entitled to determine who they’d like to invite in or keep out, but you can’t cast yourself as a world class city determined to host big ticket sporting events, only to exclude people of certain nationalities from entering your borders. We go around hearing things about how sport brings humanity together, regardless of race or country, but sometimes it doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes sport is a cruel reminder of the fault-lines we’ve drawn among ourselves. In the case of Shahar Peer, it’s a conflict of interest that the tournament organisers should’ve worked out with their government way before they gave the all-clear for Peer to enter the tournament. You gotta feel for Peer. 


Nadal’s knees

Rafa’s knees are definitely not hot. I don’t get why Rafa played Rotterdam this week to start with. I know it’s not advisable for players to just withdraw from tournaments the week before they start, but Rafa, dude you played 10 hours of tennis back to back in Melbourne, you know your knees are particularly susceptible to injuries, Indian Wells and Miami are just around the corner, don’t you think your body deserves a bit more than a week to rest up? It’s not like you needed the points. 


On top of that, Rafa got taken to 3 sets every single match at Rotterdam save for one. Is it any wonder the guy’s knees bailed out on him? 


Jelena’s words continue to speak louder…

Louder than her tennis that is. She had a great run after the US Open last year, but seems to have lost her mojo when she changed out of that daffodil coloured dress. 2009 hasn’t quite been the same, and truth be told, it hasn’t quite been the same for her compatriots either. 


And still no hope for the WTA

Here I was, thinking and hoping that Caroline Wozniacki might be the exact thing to generate some life back into the WTA field. But since her epic with Serena in Sydney, she’s been struggling to find her 2008 form. Losing to Dokic at the Australian Open is one thing, losing 64 61 to Rybarikova in Thailand is quite another. Back to some hard training for you.  


(On a side note, I drew a sigh of relief when I saw that Wozniacki has drawn a qualifier first round in Memphis next/this week. Little did I know that the qualifier went by the name of Jelena Dokic. Ooooh the deliciousness.)


Urgent Message for Greg Rusedski:


Call me. 



Mark Philippousis

+61 03 XXXX XXXX



And for anyone who hasn’t seen this yet… hot or not? You decide. For what it’s worth, Michael Clarke looks damn fine and I got a good laugh out of it.