Tag Archive | Shahar Peer

The Frazzle Post: Indian Wells

Ljubicic is in the Indian Wells final. Good for Papa Ivan, but golly-gee, I hate Indian Wells.


Picket Fence Newsreel: Groundhog Day.

Another tournament, another withdrawal, another injury to sideline him for a little while. The Tennis Gods just won’t give David Nalbandian a break.

At least this one doesn’t sound too serious: Nalby’s suffered from a 3 millimeter tear in the adductor muscle of his right leg, according to the tournament doctor. He’ll need at least 10 days off, which means that the Argentinian Davis Cup team is what one would call – a tad screwed.

But the news of this injury came after Nalbandian’s initial comeback plans were derailed by a stomach muscle injury earlier this year.

I wonder if it’s a matter of his body getting used to the rhythm of playing tennis again, or is he about to become more Rafa than Rafa?

In Memphis, Maria Sharapova has been busy gobbling up cupcakes on her run to the semifinals, she took out Elena Baltacha 62 75 with a less-than-impressive serving display.

A more interesting phenomenon is the fact that Lena B has a win/loss record of 16-4 in 2010 so far.  The fine peeps of Great Britain, get ready to welcome a female player into the top 40 in a few tournaments’ time.

In Dubai, Venus was underwhelmingly solid against Shahar Peer, progressing to the final with a 61 64 win. Shahar’s self-assured run on the outside courts of Dubai have earned her not only the admiration of many for the composure she showed, but a spot in the top 20.

In the other semi of the day, Vika defeated Aga for a chance to face the other Williams in the final.

Despite the “upsets” of the week, the Dubai tournament ended up delivering the goods after all.

Make it good, girls

xx doots


Down Under Day 6: Oh you tease.

Q. You spoke on court after the match about the fact that your father worked here for a few months, and there was a chance for a while that the family could have emigrated to Australia. Could you elaborate on that?

ROGER FEDERER: I don’t remember quite ‑‑ I was maybe 12, 14 years old. I remember actually my parents having a debate, are we moving away from Switzerland to come live over here.

At the end, they just said, Look, we have all our friends over here. And even though it’s lucrative and nice to go to Australia, they love the country, they also asked us kids. And we were like, whatever the parents decide. What are we gonna decide here?

So at the end they decided to stay in Switzerland. So, yeah, it was interesting time, you know, but it was quickly decided on. I think we even went ‑‑ I mean, went on vacation here maybe before I joined the National Tennis Center at 14.

We went on a big vacation here through Melbourne and Brisbane and Cairns and everything to maybe get a better idea of the country. Beautiful vacation, but at the end we decided to stay in Switzerland.

Q. What was your father doing out here? And secondly, Australia Day is coming up, and traditionally any new citizens who want to change nationalities choose that day to do it. You’ve still got time.

ROGER FEDERER: I would probably move first to South Africa than Australia, because I have that passport, too. No, my father was working in the paper industry. I don’t know how you call it in English. Ask him yourself. He’s in the corridor sometimes.

Hello Roger?! You big tease. WE’RE SO READY TO ADOPT YOU: you’re easygoing enough for this country. You play cricket. You’ve hired numerous Australians – EASING THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IN THIS COUNTRY. Rod Laver loves you. The crowd loves you. I celebrate your puny left arm every Friday. You’d be the next Pat Rafter, but clothed.


Umm … back to the tennis. After a day of upsets and close shaves, Day 6 of the Australian Open turned out to be an underwhelming affair.

Roger Federer progressed safely past Montanes. After a sharp first set, Federer shanked a few backhands in the second and third sets and elicited a few miffed roars.

But he stayed solid on serve throughout, facing no breakpoints and only one deuce. Did what he had to do, and we’re safely through to the next round.

Oh, and Monkey made his 2010 debut today. Hi Monkey! Long time no see.

Roger’s history with his fourth round opponent plays like a broken record. Lleyton Hewitt may not be the player he once was, but he’s still one of the safest bets you can make for fourth round. He’s through after Marcos Baghdatis pulled out of their encounter, down 6-0 4-2 with a shoulder injury.

I’ll spare you the picture of Lleyton, how about Bec instead?

Looking back on the last few years, it seems that all my memories of Baghdatis involve him collapsing onto a court in pain, or getting some part of him rubbed during a medical time-out.

You can either blame the Tennis Gods for that, or you can blame Baghdatis’ level of fitness for allowing someone so young to spend so much of his career injured. And that part, he can control.

His shoulders certainly looked alright when he visited Brighton Beach today.

Dude, that’s not how you play cricket.

Let Roger show you.

See Roger? You’re definitely an Aussie inside.

In other matches of the day, Verdasco had an easy day at the office as Fed’s sometime hitting partner Stefan Koubek retired with an illness after losing the first set 6-1. Djoker needed no retirement to bonecrush a third round opponent ranked more than 100 places below him, defeating Istomin 6-1, 6-1, 6-2. Talk about cupcakes, Nole faces Kubot in the fourth round.

You’ll excuse my peevishness at these presscon questions.

Q. Has the locker room respect for Davydenko grown over the past couple months?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: In my own opinion, I don’t look at him in a different way. I always had the respect for him because I always was aware of his quality as a player. He’s an incredible fighter.

As I said, he was one of the players that was kind of underestimated in the last five years. He’s already five years in a row in the top 10, top 5 in the world were you got to give him credit for that. Basically 80, 90% of tournaments he’s reaching quarters. That proves his quality.

Lately he just stepped it up. I think he feels it as well. He feels that he can beat anyone now.

Q. Are you still one of the least‑known players? Do you get bothered for your autograph? You said no one in London did at all. Are you becoming a little bit more…

NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: If I go outside now here, it’s be difficult to do in autograph. But in the street in the city, yes it’s easy. Nobody recognize me and it’s good feeling really. Really good feeling.

Q. You live your life.

NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Yes. I like what ‑‑ how I enjoy my life, yes, like this.

Q. If you make the final, would you like to play on Margaret Court Arena? You’ve spent a lot of time out there. Are you disappointed that you haven’t played on center court yet?

NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: No, no. Why? It’s always I know I starting here at Australia at Show Court 2, Margaret, then maybe Vodafone, like before was, yeah.

I don’t know. Rod Laver, it’s from quarterfinal always I starting to play. That’s was I think it’s good. I know I’m not like No. 1, No. 2 like always will need to play on center court.

But, if I know if I reach quarterfinal and I play center, it’s also good feeling, you know, like coming here, 2010, I play if center court Australian Open.

Lemme get this clear: For years, all the players and true tennis enthusiasts have known Kolya to be one of the most dangerous players to have never won a slam. Tennis media has been the one under-appreciating him all this time. And now they’re trying to spin a story of the charismatic Russian, overlooked by superficial fans and flashy fellow players, when they’re the ones doing the overlooking?

Oh just pass me a bucket.

Jo-Wills had a tougher time in his match, overcoming a slightly injured but spirited Tommy Haas. In probably the highest quality match of the day, the two went toe-to-toe for the majority of the first two sets. Haas lost his head a little in the third set, conceding it with a breadstick, but went up 5-3 in the fourth.

Just when Tommy was looking to level at 2 sets apiece, Jo-Wills mentally checked back into the set and simply overpowered and outgunned the German.

After the match, Jo took his time to show Jim Courrier how to properly do the happy-jump.

Gotta say, I like Jim, but he’s gotta stop cracking all these “dad jokes”. They bring back memories of personal trauma.

While it’s all about the two Belgians on the women’s side of the draw, it’s easy to forget that for the first time in tennis history, two Chinese women, Li Na and Zheng Jie, have made it through to the fourth round of a slam.

Just goes to show how much I know about the Chinese players – both Li Na and Zheng Jie are married to their coaches. How when why?

Q. Are you talking with Zheng during this (slam) process?

NA LI: Yeah, we are talking a lot. We can go like eat together and shopping together. We are not against, so we are friends. (Laughter.)

Q. Both you and Jie Zheng are married and have a coaching husband. So this relationship works pretty well for a woman’s tennis player?

NA LI: I think they have different player. I don’t know how is another player. For me, if my husband come with me, if I have something, I can just talk to him next second. We can communication fast. I think for me it was the best way. I don’t know how is another player. Everyone is different. Yeah.

Li Li Na Na is closing in on her goal of making the Top 10 in 2010 after defeating Daniela Hantuchova in 3 sets in one of the more competitive matches of the day.

The two were evenly matched in both their shot-making abilities and brainfarts, but Li was by far the more athletic one of the two.

Watching Dani’s beautiful ball-striking today, I couldn’t help but wonder what would her career have been like if she came with just 20% more mobility. How can someone so slender and light move with such heavy feet?

In other matches, Serena and Venus continued their march towards a semi show-down as they both overpowered their opponents to reach the fourth round. Very impressed with Venus’ elevated form so far this tournament, not so impressed with the banana peel dress.

Venus has to watch out next round, as she faces a red hot Francesca Schiavone, after Franny pretzeled Aga 62 62 to equal her best ever performance at the Australia Open. Vika, Carol and Zvoom Zvoom Zvonareva also made it solidly through to the next round, all in straight sets.

See what I mean about an underwhelming day of tennis?

xx doots

Down Under: Cause and Means.

This is a little maddening.

A group of 10 protestors gathered outside the facilities at the ASB Classic in Auckland New Zealand to protest the participation of Israeli player Shahar Peer. The protest noise from outside the tennis complex at one point stopped the play with Peer looking visibly unhappy. The protestors chanted through a loudspeaker, “blood, blood on your hands”, “freedom for Palestine”, and “go home, Shahar” accompanied by drums.

A 15 minute argument ensued, with the tournament officials wanting to stop the match and deal with the noise, while Peer and her coach insisted they play on. As play resumed, Peer channeled her inner rage and blitzed through the rest of the match, steamrolling Rybarikova 6-1 6-0.



Sport and politics always make for an interesting, if not controversial issue. The instinct here is to jump all over the protestors, and for the most part, I’ve got to agree. But in the interest of fairness, hear what they have to say about their actions. 


The group sent Peer, 22, a letter asking her to withdraw “as a demonstration of your commitment to peace” and plan to protest until she does, or is knocked out of the tournament.

Protester Janfrie Wakim, of the Palestine Human Rights Campaign Auckland, said sport was an important part of the boycott campaign.

“That is an argument that is used in the past, but it is one of the ways to get some leverage, and we saw that in South Africa and we saw it so effectively in rugby. Of course the argument is politics and sport don’t mix, well, politics affects the lives of every Palestinian – they have no chance of being involved in sport and this is an opportunity for us to affect those policies.

[Peer] has declared her service to the Israeli Army, and she is apparently a very good shot. She hasn’t joined a lot of other young Israelis and become a refusenik, which she could have easily done if she had the courage to do so.”


I’ve got to say – I’m sympathetic to their cause. In fact, I’m probably one of the few out there who are willing to give politics a place in sports.

To put it simply, politics is people. And so is sport.

Given the amount of money, fame and media attention in professional sports, why not use it as a platform to speak out and affect social change? After all, we weren’t wagging our fingers when North and South Korea marched out as one team at the Sydney Olympics opening ceremony. Was that not a positive political statement of unity and peace?

The problem here isn’t the cause of their political activism, or the fact that they tried to politicize sport. What is problematic is the means through which  they’re trying to achieve their end

Essentially, what the group is trying to do here is to bully a girl into giving up her livelihood because they don’t agree with her country’s politics. 

Has anyone ever protested the presence of American players in tournaments because of the existence of Guantanamo Bay? Or requested Chinese players to withdraw for failing to speak out against their government’s human rights record? 

I have a problem with Lindt’s supply chain, which often involves forced labour and child slavery on cocoa plantations. Does that mean I should ask Roger to give up his sponsorship deal? 

If not, then why is it okay to force an Israeli player to give up her profession because of politics

By all means, be politically active. Campaign for your cause. But choose the means through which you protest carefully. Because something like this could backfire on your cause in the media and turn popular support against you.

Color me surprised if most people out there don’t look on the protesters’ actions with a little disgust.

LA Tidbits: Original is Better



Does it get any bigger, louder or more fierce on the WTA than Sharapova v Azarenka? Maria came out the victor, 6-7(4) 6-4 6-2.


Must admit – I didn’t see this coming. Don’t know why I would ever pick against Maria Sharapova, but I did: Azarenka’s form has been steadily rising this year, and Maria is only playing her 6th tournament since coming back from shoulder surgery. Most rational people would’ve picked Vika.




In Maria’s own words:


“I knew I was going to have to dig deep and try to find ways,” said Sharapova. “I’m pretty happy with the way I was able to hang in with her and really step up when I had to. That was the difference between us.”



Click to enlarge


At the end of the day, Sharapova didn’t win 3 slams by accident. She shares the same quality with the likes of Serena and Roger – even when they’re not playing their best, they takes what you give them and find a way to win.

It’s a quality that I’ve yet to see in Victoria Azarenka, who tends to take a more self-destructive path when her game isn’t working the way she wants it to. She’ll learn, no doubt, but at her age, Maria already had 2 slams. Mentally and temperamentally, Azarenka ain’t no Sharapova.

Original is better.



In other results:

Sorana Cirstea took out C.Woz 1-6 6-4 7-6(5). That sucks, to be quite frank. 

Urszula Radwanska upset the Jacktrabbit – Dominika Cibulkova – 6-4 6-7(6) 6-4, and will play Li Li Na Na (who defeated A.Woz 4-6 6-4 6-2). What’s up with Cibulkova? I don’t think she’s won a match on hard court yet

Nadia Petrova took 3 sets to beat Shahar Peer 6-4 2-6 6-3, and Agnieszka Radwanska is still rock solid, eliminating Ai Sugiyama 6-2 6-1. 


Off-topic: Venus Williams relaunched her site. I demand that you go check it out now. 


The Original,


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

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.