Inevitably after another Federer loss to the Clay Monster, I go through the stages of fury, demoralisation, resignation, and the search for silver linings. And here are the silver linings:
- Roger made the final. And as kaput as his side of the draw was in Rome, he took it one match at a time and played some gorgeous tennis during the course of the week.
- If Federer’s main goal in Rome was to get some much-needed match play before Paris, then consider it mission accomplished.
- Rafa goes into Roland Garros seeded #4, which means that provided Murray doesn’t pull out before the draw, Federer and Nadal cannot meet unless it’s in the final. And would I take another Fedal final in Paris, even after so many frustrating years of little success? YES I WOULD BITCHES. In a heartbeat.
- In giving him a new haircut, Federer’s hairdresser had clearly cut off some chocolatey strands of SHEER AWESOME, which would explain the slump in form. But never fear bitchessssss, that only means we’re in prime position for the greatest comeback in the history of HAIR.
- HE LOOKED LIKE A GIANT GRANNY SMITH ON LEGS. I MEAN, WHO LOOKS CUTE IN APPLE GREEN? ROGER FEDERER DOES APPARENTLY. IS THERE ANYTHING THE MAN CAN’T DO? (Other than, ya know, beat Nadal on clay over 5 sets). NO. THERE IS SIMPLY NOT. That is all.
Andy Murray’s 11:02 p.m. “beat the clock” adventure was a one-of-a-kind experience. Marin Cilic and Sam Querrey merely played the second-longest match in Wimbledon history (though only HALF as long as Mahut-Isner). Serena Williams and Zheng Jie played one of the best third-round matches in the history of any major tennis tournament. Brian Baker continued his feel-good story. Mardy Fish authored a brand-new feel-good narrative of his own. Tamira Paszek, Ana Ivanovic, and Sabine Lisicki are rebounding better than LeBron James did in the NBA Finals. Maria Sharapova remains the consummately consistent player of the WTA Tour. David Ferrer is playing his best tennis at age 30. PETRA KVITOVA SMASH THINGS! Read More…
It’s a frequent refrain during early-round matches at majors when David encounters Goliath and starts brightly: “He’s the better player at the moment. If he can just play like this for another four sets, he’ll win.”
It all sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Just keep playing the same way. Just keep hitting more big serves. Just keep cracking more monster forehands. Just keep being aggressive. Calling to mind the French Open piece I wrote on this blog a few weeks ago, “It only SEEMS automatic.”
In reality, it’s anything but. Tennis is fascinating this way… it’s why I love the sport.
Here’s what makes major tournament tennis such a championship test, far more than – for instance – the other individual-sport realm of major championship golf: An opponent gets to ask you questions at various points along a continuum. In golf, the opponent is the course, the competition one contained struggle that spills into four days. Only on Sunday does the need to assert one’s superiority become acute and profound; the first three days of the tournament are merely a matter of putting oneself in position to win in the final round. In tennis, that option isn’t really available, but Rafael Nadal sometimes makes it seem as though “hanging around” is an acceptable way of proceeding… and winning. Read More…
Doots: Alright bitches. Let’s get down to business. First thoughts on Wombly draw?
PJ: Looks good for the Old Man, looks good for Rafa, whatever for Djokovic and LOLOLOLOL for Muzzface.
LJ: I’m overwhelmed by the amount of WTFckery 1st round matchups we have.
Kohli vs Haas: WHYYYYY? Both would have made good runs to 4th round. Read More…
Apologies for the lack of updates in the past week. Sometimes life gets in the way of a full blown tennis addiction. (Yes, you heard it right: LIFE. Even those of us stuck in the National Crapital of Australia have one sometimes).
Truth be told, I didn’t feel right to move on to Halle without first wrapping up Roland Garros. And I couldn’t wrap up Roland Garros because the semifinals and final were some of the most uninspiring tennis seen in the latter stages of grand slams for years. Devoid of both quality and drama, where the only suspense concerned the fickle Parisien weather, and not the tennis played on court.
In short, everything we expected to happen happened, in a mediocre, lethargic fashion.
Ah, gay Paree and clay Paree. I’m not a huge fan of clay-court tennis, or Roland Garros in general – my best moments of the Slam stands alone at Ferrero winning and Federer winning. Adding on the magnificent time difference from Land of Oz plus hectic times at work…let’s just say I haven’t feel so disconnected from a Slam in a very long time.
But still, it is a Slam, and it still invokes feelings of excitement and anticipation in me, even if, so far, I haven’t had the opportunity to properly watch a full match that features another player not named FederBrainfart, or read up on full tennis analysis and news etc etc etc. And things have been happening. Man, have they been happening.
Perhaps the biggest news thus far is Serena Williams losing to Virginie Razzano in the first round. It may be worth noting that Serena has never ever lost in the first round of a Slam – until now. It was a match full of drama and momentum swings and stuff that’s Hollywood-worthy, or so I heard. Serena was up 5-1 in the tiebreaker in the second set, lost the set. She was trailing 0-5 in the third, and clawed back nail and tooth and guts and spleen to come back to 3-5. Razzano needed 9 match-points before finally managing to win the last set 6-3.
Ahead of the French Open, your Aussie blog mistresses – Doots, PJ and LJ – convened for a cosy fireside chat of the anti-experts in place of your usual ‘draw analysis’, pointless predictions, and French Open themes. Best enjoyed with a glass of wine, a hint of sarcasm, and a dash of hope.
Read on and enjoy!
Doots: So I posed a question on the blog yesterday about the lesser of two evils between Rafa and Novak. Obviously now that Roger has drawn Novak, this is kinda redundant but what did either of you think about which is the “easier” side?
PJ: I actually hope for Federer to land on Rafa’s side of the draw. If I have to take another 2011 redux where he plays brilliant to beat Satan and then fart to Rafa in the final…I may just jump into Yarra River.
Doots: But surely a final is better than a semifinal?
LJ: It is, but fuck – losing another French final to Rafa? Seriously every time I venture onto the Roland Garros website, I cry a little looking at the scoreline.
Nadal or Djokovic. Who is the lesser of 2 evils in a grand slam draw? Specifically – who would you prefer in Paris:
Djokovic? An obvious choice, since he has a far greater losing record in Paris than Rafa. On the downside, your reward for beating him would most likely be a final against Rafa, which makes a mockery of the concept of ‘victory’.
Nadal? Much riskier choice, and by risky, I mean – the guy has lost just once in Paris, and so you have a 1 in 7 chance of being the Robin Soderling of 2012. On the up side, you’ll most likely save yourself the inevitable pain and humiliation of losing in a grand slam final, and head to the grass season early enough to be ready to roll at Queens/Halle.
So at the risk of making this sound like a drinking game: who would you rather?
Novak Djokovic wasn’t always the impenetrable titan he has turned into since Serbia took home the Davis Cup in 2010.
Sure, he has always had the ability to change the direction of ball seemingly at will, to pounce on the serve early, to defend like his legs were made of springs. But back in the days of 2007-2010, Novak was also a man who at times couldn’t always finish a point he had set up for himself under pressure or convert the chances he had against Federer or Nadal. And one of his biggest accomplishments over the past 18 months has been to make that player that we used to know disappear. Read More…
When I was a li’le girl in school, there were many classes I hated, either because of the subject itself, or because the teacher in charge of it hails from the lower spectrum of mankind. And the more I hated them, the more I complained to my mother about them, the worse I did in those classes. I couldn’t wait until the day I got old enough to drop them and study only the things I like.
Which brings us, of course, to the flamingly obvious: Djokovic and Nadal did not fall to the Rise of the Minions merely because they could not adjust to the new surface, they fell because they would not adjust to it.