Tag Archive | Sorana Cirstea

Picket Fence Newsreel: Weekend Warriors, belated.

1. Excuse the total lack of coverage for the Monte Carlo final. In truth, I ran out of things to say about it.

Rafa was dominant, he was dynamic, he was ferocious. He was everything we expected the Clay Monster to be, and if I know my Rafa fans, they’d be avidly reading up on every single media report on the fallout from the tournament – it’s a little something I call “the Monday Problem”. I fell victim to it when Roger won Madrid last year after a title drought too.

Enjoy it guys. The media conglomerate’s a fickle lot.

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2. There was a time when Nando used to be one of my favourite players inside the top 30. In the end, what killed the love was ironically his breakthrough into the top 10.

With breakthrough comes expectations, with expectations – pressure. And we can safely say that there is no better test of character and ambition than pressure.

Hey Nando, I don’t care if you lose to Rafa. In fact, I expect you to. But go down swingin’ dude. Go down with your head held high.

Don’t just look happy to be there.

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3. The picture says it all.

For a long time, Sam Stosur reminded me of … well, a female righty Verdasco.

She always had the talent, the all-court abilities, her fearsome serve-and-forehand combo … but injuries and illness got in the way. Her own shyness, her seeming lack of competitive fire further presented roadblocks.

Better health, coaching changes and some mental guidance from Aussie pro-surfer Layne Beachley seemed to have helped, as she soared up the rankings and made her first slam semi last year.

Still, there were times when Stosur turned inwards. Shot for shot, her abilities are undeniable, but compared to some of the ‘slam contenders’ on the WTA tour (haha), Stosur lacks a certain inherent sense of the court position. To win matches, she depends control, not on improvisation. Take the ability to dictate away from her, force her to improvise or defend and her game unravels very quickly.

I’m not sure if any of that’s changed. What has changed though, is her mentality to accept weakness, to put more effort into her singles career, and to continue doing what she does best – serve, aggression, topspin forehands and sharper slices, netplay. Even with her short comings, she’s a player with a lot going for her.

Apart from a culture of expectations on her shoulders.

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4. The mandatory “injuries update”:

  • Sabine Lisicki out of Fed Cup and Stuttgart, still with her ankle injury
  • Serena is out of Fed Cup, but expected to return to the WTA tour in Rome, having just accepted a wild card there. (Rome is now officially my favourite tournament. EVER.)
  • Nalby simply can’t go for 2 weeks without getting injured. But how long will his persist? And will his persistence pay off?
  • Still MIA: Dina Safina, Del Potro. The former announced on her website that she has “two stress fractures on L5S1 and a rupture on the muscle”. While her recovery has been slow, she’s resumed practice in Croatia.
  • Don’t know what’s the deal with Anna Chakvetadze. Russian tabloids are reporting that she’s ill and injured. Father denies retirement plans.

Last but not least, here’s something new – Rafa withdraws from Barcelona out of prevention.

“If I had lost in Monte Carlo on Wednesday, I would have been [in Barcelona].

“We plan our calendar by matches, not by tournaments. I had a bad year, then I returned to my level and my goal now is to stay healthy. I’m in perfect shape. I feel very good, but I don’t want a repeat of what happened last year. For my tennis to be at the right level, I have to be physically well and that’s my principal objective. I’m being as cautious as possible so that I can play the maximum amount possible. Playing three weeks straight is not the best for me.”

Wow, sometimes you do learn the hard way.

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5. Off-court:

  • Looks like Prince hasn’t got all their eggs in Sharapova’s basket. Vera Zvoom has signed a new racquet deal with the company.
  • Meanwhile, Sorana Cirstea was signed by IMG. She sure is marketable as a player, I’ll give her that. Here’s to hoping they don’t “Vaidisovize” her before she ever makes a mark.
  • Wimbledon prize money rises to 1 million this year for the winner. I’m totally biased, but I sure hope that’s going into Swiss pockets.
  • Nastya Myskina expecting bébé numero 2. Congrats.

Finally – Maria Sharapova turned 23 on the 19th of April. Masha’s a big girl now (not that you would’ve ever used the word “little” to describe her), but remember this?

Here’s to more of that.

xx doots

Picket Fence Newsreel: the Absentees.

Courtesy of the demands of modern tennis:

  1. Serena Williams has withdrawn from Charleston. Not that I expected her to play, but her absence since the Australian Open has been one of the longer spells in recent years. I wonder if she’s lost a little motivation to play after all her slam successes in the past 2 years. Are we in for one of her “disinterest – career dip – raring comeback” phases again?
  2. Maria Sharapova has also withdrawn from the same tournament, still bothered by her elbow injury.
  3. Sabine Lisicki is out of Charleston with her left ankle problem.
  4. Del Potro is out of Monte Carlo, with no specific date set for his return. His physician is still waiting for the swelling on his wrist to subsided before giving him the green light to play. No surgery is required.
  5. Soderling‘s total mindfuck against Berdych in Miami could perhaps be explained by his knee injury. He’s official out of Monte Carlo.
  6. As is Monfils, who hurt his hand during the Davis Cup last month.
  7. Gilles Simon (oh remember him?) rate his chances of competing in the French Open at about 20%. Damn those knees.
  8. Lots of Americans fall in Houston with bodily niggles: Fish, Ram, Dent, Russell.
  9. Azarenka retired in Marbella with a thigh injury. The only positive being that she did it against MJMS, who’s through to the semis. Hoorah!

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In non-injury related news:

9. BBC reporting that Leon Smith has been named the next Davis Cup captain for Great Britain after John Lloyd’s resignation last month.

Seems that Tennis Australia isn’t the only federation with bad internal politics. Former captain David Lloyd has told the London Times that it would be “impossible”  for Smith to be appointed to the captaincy. “It would be a joke. I’m telling you, they can’t do that.

Zing.

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10. The Times of Indian reports that Mirza and Shoaib have moved their wedding forward to today.

And nope, the controversies ain’t going away. In a TV interview, Indian right-winger Pramod Muthalik has labelled poor Sania as a “disgrace” to her country for marrying someone from ‘an enemy nation’.

“Sania Mirza is not an ordinary youngster. She represents India in the field of tennis. She is indebted to India for her success and she has to act as a role model to others. Being in her position, it is a disgrace that she chose to marry someone from Pakistan and her decision is a shame for our country.”

Countries and cultures may differ, but bigots worldwide are exactly the same.

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11. Happy birthday to Sorana Cirstea, who turned 20 on the 7th April, and had a tennis cake to celebrate the occasion. I want a tennis cake.

Unfortunately, the birthday girl was upset by 18 year-old reigning French Open junior champ, Simona Halep, better known as the Breast-Reduction Girl.

Sorry to be totally vulgar, but friggin hell … 18?

Before:

After:

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6. You saw it coming. You were in denial. And now you have to face up to the truth:

The last two wild cards for Monte Carlo have been given to Simone Bolelli and Bernie Tomic.

Well, in any case, I hope the reetard gets Mirka a nice one year wedding anniversary gift.

xx doots

Picket Fence Newsreel: Opening Jitters.

Just a few short notes of the day.

1. Aww, poor Nole. It’s not your fault you look like a ball boy who just peed himself.

Despite progressing through with relatively straightforward scorelines, there were some jitters for both Nole and Mandy in their opening performances in Dubai.

Nole took out Garcia-Lopez 6-4 6-4, but not without going mentally AWOL midway through the second set to squander a 5-0 lead. Eventually, he managed to close the match out in straight sets for his first top 50 victory in 2010.

In a similarly “stirred but not shaken” manner, Mandy started the match against Kunitsyn with a dramatic 25-minute second game, which featured nine break points for Murray. He eventually won the game and along with it the first set.

While Murray was broken in the first game of the second set, he broke back and raced to a 4-2 lead, eventually finishing the match 62 63. Not a bad score, but some truly atrocious serving.

2. By comparison, Marin Cilic’s opening victory over Clement was just as simple as its score would indicate – 62 64.

Save your energy, Marin. They say revenge is a dish best served cold, but I want it hot. Red hot and full of Cilic Peppers. You know who it’s for.

3. Stan has officially committed to Switzerland’s Davis Cup tie against Spain. He’ll be playing his first match since the birth of Mademoiselle Wawrinka.

Now that Rafa’s out, would it still be too optimistic to hope for a competitive tie?

4. Mentioning the Davis Cup, all the douchebaggery in the world could not stop Australia from putting Bernard Tomic on the Davis Cup team.

With Hewitt sidelined by ab injury, Tomic and Luczak are down to play singles against Taiwan, with Carsten Ball and Paul Hanley scheduled for doubles.

Tomic will be 17 years and 135 days old by the time of the Taiwan clash – making him the youngest Davis Cup team member in Australian history.

Still. It kills me to have someone so classlessly immature representing my country.

5. Mentioning Aussies, Nick Lindahl is through the quallies in Delray Beach. Best of luck to him for the tournament.

6. WTF result of the day: Sharon Fichman def Sorana Cirstea 6-2 6-0.

Passing Thoughts: Wake me when you get to the part that’s “news”.

1. John McEnroe claims that Roger Federer is GOAT and just about every sports news outlet made it into a story.

Must be another slow news week.


“Roger is just the greatest player of all time. He is the most beautiful player I’ve ever seen and I don’t ever get tired of watching him. Rod Laver is my idol, Pete Sampras is the greatest grass court player ever, but Roger is just the greatest player of all. I think we can all appreciate how incredible he is even more lately, because he’s shown a bit more emotion on court and he’s become a father so he seems a bit more human, more relatable. That makes what he’s doing seem even more amazing.”

On Federer’s records and streaks:

“It’s difficult to pick out one of his achievements as the best because they’re all so incredible,” said McEnroe. “But I would probably say the 23 semis or better in a row is the best record of them all. There’s probably not another player in the top 20 who’s even played 23 straight majors (Grand Slam tournaments) in a row. Then throw in the fact that he got to 18 out of 19 finals and that he’s averaging two Grand Slam titles a year, it’s just phenomenally consistent. It’s amazing.”

Put it this way: no other player has made the last two grand slam semifinals, let alone the last 23.

“It’s unfortunate that Rafa is struggling with injury because his rivalry with Roger has become an incredible one, and rivalries are great for the sport,” said McEnroe. “I think at the moment Nadal’s injury is working to Roger’s benefit because he was able to take advantage of it at the French Open and dig deep to win that one. But at the same time I think it would be nice to think that Nadal could stick around for a couple of years and push Roger a bit because competition like that can push you that bit harder.”

“When you’ve won as much as he has you have to wonder how he will react when he starts losing regularly at major events – not reaching finals or semis. That’s not going to be easy for him. But, he seems to take great care of his body, the way he moves doesn’t put a lot of strain on the body so you would think he would be able to play at this top level a few more years. I hope so, because we are lucky to have him.”

Let’s review McEnroe’s little shpill: 1) Roger is GOAT. 2) 23 semifinals in a row is just retarded. 3) Pity about Rafa. Get well soon. 4) The Mighty Fed has more top-level tennis left in him because his movement is so easy.

JMac, please don’t feel like you need to state the obvious or anything.

2. BREAKING NEWS: Bobby Sod won his first tour match of 2010.

And he did it the hard way: taking 3 sets to overcome Flo Serra after dropping the first set 64. Le Sod conceded after the match that he’s found himself in difficult form lately:

“The first match of the week is always the most difficult for me. My game got better and better. I know I can play a lot better. I’m satisfied with the win but not really with my form.”

No shit. The Australian Open was one of Sod’s few windows of opportunity to gain points this year and the guy managed to implode spectacularly after being up 2 sets to love. Elbow injury or not, I’m banning the use of the nickname “Dimples” until further notice.

3. MORE BREAKING NEWS: Melanie Oudin actually won a match, beating Sorana Cirstea 63 60 to progress into the second round in Paris.

With her first main-draw victory since the US Open and her Fed Cup performance, Oudin is on a – collective gasp – 3 match winning streak. Her longest since Flushing Meadows.

Oudin next plays Nutty Patty, who also stopped the bleed after a recent show of poor form. She beat 7th-seeded Virginie Razzano 6-3, 7-6(3).

As for Sori, I’ve tried to warm to her. The girl’s got spunk, but she’s also got a slappy forehand, too much eye makeup and the tendency to look extremely average on an off-day. And right now, she has more off-days than on.

4. Serena Williams is out of Dubai. I don’t know why and I don’t care why.

Dinara Safina is also out of Dubai. I know why but I just don’t care.

5. Fernando Verdasco beats retiree in an exho.

Oh by the way, that retiree’s name is Pete Sampras. You might’ve heard of him.

After the straight-sets loss, Sampras took some questions from the media and the conversation inevitably turned to Agassi’s comments regarding Pete in his biography “Open”. After voicing his displeasure a few weeks ago, Pete’s downplayed his comments.

“It was fine, no ill feelings. I know Andre likes to push the envelope, with everything he does, but with me, I thought we were above all that. He chose to be open and honest about everything, and I was a little surprised he went down that road.”

“I think it freaked out Andre that I did my thing. To me, that extreme focus was no big deal. That’s how Borg, Federer, some other guys did it. That was normal to me. But Andre was amazed by it.”

On the contrast between Sampras’ autobiography and Agassi’s.

“I didn’t want to offend anyone in my book. It wasn’t about that for me. I wanted it to be something I could be proud of, something my kids could read, all about how I became a champion. It wasn’t about money, or about shocking people.”

In other words, you were interested in retelling your life, but only the proud bits. Oh how courageous you are, Pete.

Slow news is better than no news.

xx doots

Frazzle Post: Countdown.

The last week before the Australian Open. 

Overnight, Roger Federer has pulled out of the Kooyong Classic, sparking rumours that his wrist is bothering him more than he’s letting on. Fed’s manager dismissed the claims. Make of that what you will.

Meanwhile, here’s a pic I took last year. *sigh* 

 

 

Nole and del Potro now headline the field in Kooyong, while Jo-Willy Tsonga‘s participation is a little uncertain given his injury.  

It’s a bad week for France all-round. Over in Sydney, Monfils has pulled out of the tournament after being plagued by what appears to be a shoulder inflammation. Birdy, Hewitt, Stan and Samurai will still be there to hold up a less-than-stellar field.

Never mind, Sydney’s all about the girls. Serena, Safina, Sveta, CWoz and Vika will be getting their last minute practice before the Oz Open next week. 

Somehow, it’s just not that exciting without the Belgians.

Over in the tennis wasteland of Hobart, Anabel Medina Garrigues and Shahar Peer are the top two seeds, but Zheng Jie, Lucie Safarova, Alize Cornet and Sori Cirstea should make things interesting.

Down Under: Perth, I want your balls.

It’s Hopman Cup time, the tournament with diamond encrusted balls. One step closer to these prized trophies are Romania and Spain, having won their ties against Australia and the US of A respectively over the weekend. 

 

 

I remember going to a local stand-up comedy show a few years back. When the comedian brought up the name “Lleyton Hewitt”, the crowd booed. If we can’t find some love for him here in Aus, then what hope is there for Hewitt overseas? 

Fast-forward a few years and the Hewitt-hating normality I’ve come to know and love is crashing down on me. Instead of suing the ATP, making homophobic remarks and playing mind games with his opponents, Lleyton Hewitt has somewhat grown up.

These days, he seems to be more willing to spend his time investing in online retail stores, making babies with Bec, and generally doing inoffensive things such as milking what’s left of his career for all its worth.

And in all honesty, he doesn’t have to. No one’s stopping him from riding off into the retirement sunset a la Marat Safin. Perhaps we don’t give him enough credit for … actually loving this sport?

 

 

Unlike his compatriot Sam Stosur, Hewitt started his year with a win over Victor Hanescu in a dramatic third set tiebreak.

All credit to Hanescu, who served big, mixed in drop shots and volleys to make Hewitt run around like a rabbit. But Lleyton wouldn’t be Lleyton if he didn’t battle every match to the end of time. With Hanescu cramping and the Perth crowd fired up, there was only one result to expect. 

Romania however could depend on Sorana Cirstea to seal the tie. Not a fan of the Racoon eye make-up and slappy forehand, but you gotta admire the guts and fight from the girl. Looking done and dusted half way through the second set of her singles match, Cirstea took full advantage of a slight falter by Stosur, pumped herself up and took control of a match she had no business winning. 

Top 20 by the end of the year?

 

 

Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE?

I’m sure you’ll understand my newfound love for the girl, having missed her match against Serena at Roland Garros last year, it was my first time watching her.

And why wouldn’t you love her game? Beautiful service motion, one of the rare non-spastic ball tosses on the WTA tour. She’s an intelligent player with a good sense of knowing when to stay in the rally,  and when to move forward and unleash her array of doubles-savvy volleys on her opponents.

You don’t get a lot of players like her on the women’s tour these days. A breath of fresh air, as one might say. 

Is it any wonder then that MJMS and Tommy Robredo teamed up to defeat Oudin and Mr Chubby Sex?

Izzy, I love you. But you know you can’t serve at 77% and still lose the match, right? It’s a crime for someone with a serve like yours to volley that floppily. 

 

 

As Romania and Spain kicked off their quest for Perth’s balls, all the teams turned up to attend the annual Hopman Cup ball. Lena D looks beautifully bland, as always. 

 

 

Sabine hadn’t realised Halloween was almost 3 months ago.

 

 

I keep a mental list of players who are either of the same height or shorter than me. Melanie Oudin belongs in the former category. Kimiko Date Krumm in the latter. 

John Isner belongs in neither.

 

 

Sorana. Beautiful.

 

 

When I was 15, I was still waiting for boobs to arrive. Frick you. 

 

 

Shave. Wear a tie. Tuck your shirt in. And stop looking like a hobo.

 

 

Tommy Rob shows Mandy how it’s done. 

 

 

Sammy. Aww. Sammy. 

 

 

Lleyton and new coach Nathan Healy.

 

 

What I wouldn’t give to be in Perth right now … 

LA: Under the Radar.

Who would’ve thought at the start of the week that we’d have a Stosur/Pennetta final?

 

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

 

I woke up this morning with Stosur and Cirstea just about to start playing. Went out for breakfast, came back an hour later and it was … finished? As far as semifinals go, this was about as crushing as it gets.

I’ve been largely unimpressed with Sorana Cirstea so far. It doesn’t help that every time I sit down to watch one of her matches, she loses listlessly.

And I mean: listlessly. Cirstea’s personality is nothing like Ivanovic, but when she gets down in a match, the same thoughtless anxiety emerges. 

I don’t like it. 

I will, however, cut her some slack for her loss, as she was suffering from plantar fasciitis in her right foot. 

 

The trainer told me I can’t hurt my foot by playing on it … The only thing was whether I could play with the pain. I tried to focus on my serve. … I did the wrong movement (landing awkwardly), and that’s when the painstarted.

 

Ouch.

As for Slammin’ Sammy, I was afraid that she’d lose her momentum after the French Open, but she’s proving that her semifinal run there was no fluke.

Loving her game and variety, her newfound confidence, her initiative and commitment to making that transition from a doubles “specialist” to an all-round player. I wouldn’t be surprised if Stosur ended up winning the US Open Series this year. 

Girl – first singles title, YES WE CAN!

 

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

 

As much as I love Flavs, it was painful to watch Maria’s loss. There’s something about Shazza 1) coming back from injury, 2) playing like crap, 3) and fighting her guts out that just seems to tug at your heartstrings

I still have no idea how she managed to win the second set. When all else failed – the unreliable serve, the Federer-esque hawk-eye challenges, even the most routine groundstrokes – Masha Fierce could still rely on the one weapon that won’t desert her: her fight.  


I didn’t feel fresh. I was surprised it went to the third and I had my opportunities, but I couldn’t close it out.

It’s almost like new territory for me. With every tournament I feel physically I’m getting better and getting a good sense of the court, but it’s still a work in progress.

Source: Skysports

 

In the end, when you’re dishing up two double faults per game, it makes life that much harder. Flavia showed some fantastic defence, and Maria was certainly rusty from the baseline, but it was Sharapova’s serve that proved to be the difference in the third set

 

REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

 

Still plenty of positives to take away from the week for Shazza. Without winning the title, she’s done enough to assure me that she will climb her way back to the top.

The serve is iffy and will probably remain iffy, but just look at the way Dementieva’s dealt with hers. The  groundstrokes are as potent as ever, and they are becoming more and more polished with match play. At the age of 22, Sharapova might feel and speak like one of the veterans, but rest assured, she’s still a “bright young thing” to stick around for many years to come.

 

Stosur FTW now,

xx doots

LA Tidbits: Original is Better

 

Firstly: WHY WASN’T THIS BROADCASTED?

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.

 

NINJA!

 

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,

Dootsie

Stanford Mosaics: Cut-throat is my middle name.

I’ve taken a bit of a break from tennis after the French Open and Wimbledon, to grow back my finger and toe nails, and nurse those stomach ulcers induced by Feduruh and coffee.

But with my sleeping patterns returning to normal at last, I’m craving for some real tennis once again, and who better than Maria Cut-throat Sharapova to cure my tennis craving? Hurrah! 

 

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Click to enlarge: Cool visor, messy cobwebs dress?

 

It wasn’t that easy, but she certainly made it harder for herself by choking away the second set after being up 5-2. I’m not sure how much the injury is playing on her mind right now, because she’s getting into a pattern of tightening up fatally when she’s seemingly in command.

Still, can’t complain about a 64 67(6) 61 win. Overall good news: the groundies are still sharp, the shoulders appear to be fine, and the last time I checked, there was definitely a head on top of them too.  

 

Someone who’s missing a head right now: Sorana Cirstea, who has now won only one game against Agniewszka Radwanska in their last two meetings. 60 61? Pathetic. 

 

bruceleeanimatedgif5wz

 

In other Maria related news, Sharapova will join Andy Roddick, Jordin Sparks and Will Ferrell at this year’s Arthur Ashe Kids Day. Since it’s “kids day”, how about we get all the players with kids there?

You know I just need an excuse to see Feddydaddy with his girls. 

 

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 …

 

333v3ue 

 

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