LJ has dibs on the proper blogging on the conclusion of the super spectacular Australia-Switzerland Davic Cup tie – so wait for it!
But I just want to say my bit on this…how AWESOME is My Friend Stanley!? Honestly. I gave him something like negative three zillion chance to beat Lleyton Hewitt in that deciding rubber. Simply because:
1) Stan is injured (leg). From the matches on Friday and Saturday, it was quite clear that he wasn’t moving very well.
2) Grass is his worst surface, he doesn’t like grass and he’s quite crap on grass.
3) Lleyton Hewitt, the classic DC warrior. Before Rafa Nadal, there’s Lleyton Hewitt. No matter how injured or how gimpy or how old this guy is – he just doesn’t give up. Those words are not in his vocabulary. The surface favours him, the home crowd advantage favours him and the Davis Cup mentality favours him. Lleyton can suck at all other tournaments in the universe and he simply just doesn’t suck at Davis Cup. I firmly believe if he were to collapse and die on court, he’ll find some way to resurrect himself, and win the match with a C’MAAWWWWWNNNN right at the opponent’s face.
All the above is true. But then, a very different Stan showed up…a very very determined Stan, who was like, “fuck all about this crap surface, the Fanatics heckling my second serve, the leaves falling on my head and that freak across the net who doesn’t know how to die…I’m going do it for Rogeeeeee!!!” (Maybe not that last part, but then again, may that last part is the catalyst…heh heh heh)
He came out thinking he can win. He came out WANTING to win. He came out PLAYING to win (third-set mental cramping aside). And that made all the difference. At the end of it, Hewitt DID end up being half dead and was barely able to walk, but still gritted his teeth and walked on the court. Sadly, he couldn’t save the tie. As determined as that heart was, the body wasn’t holding up.
I’m pleased that Stan/Switzerland won (there’s no other outcome I would want after Stan’s tremendous showing yesterday, would have been absolutely devastated if he didn’t pull through today), but seeing Hewitt dragging that battered body off-court, it kinda broke my heart a little. He would’ve been crushed beyond crushed at not being able to do it for Australia. Say what you may about him – but this man is all heart when it comes to his country.
I hope this will bode well for Stan, going forward in his career. He’s a proper Davis Cup hero for Switzerland (although not in the magnitude of Fernando Verdasco or Novak Djokovic, seeing that those two won the Cup for their country), winning that crucial match AGAINST ALL ODDS. No one gave him a chance, and he came out and whacked everyone’s doubts into submission with his one-handed backhand. Regardless of Hewitt’s injuries, beating this man – who clawed back two sets to love down and a break down to hand McFed his most painful defeat in the 2003 Davis Cup – in his home court, is very very massive. And Stan should reap lots of inspiration from that.
I’ll end this quick blog entry with an open-letter to Stan:
YOU RULE ALL AND YOU’RE AWESOME-POSSUM!!
P.S. Photos are mine. I have a bunch to be edited, uploaded and shared…whenever I get to it. *lazy* For now, here’s a small batch from Day 1.
We eat humble pie and apologise for doubting your determination. You were just AWESOME today (bar that brain fart in the 3rd but I digress)
Full Day 3 Report coming tomorrow, I’m physically hurting (Not as much as Stan obviously) and too busy getting work work done to complete it (besides, technically Day 3 isn’t really over, its finishing at 11am tomorrow)
But here…have some photos from today as consolation for the absence of my eclectic word poetry.
This entire Davis Tie has been a genius chess move by Pat Rafter (or whomever else orchestrated it) and here’s why:
1. They picked the best surface possible. They picked an ordinary grass court. Marginally better than your local club. It was adequate but it’s not up to tournament level (Halle/Queens). Now grass is the hardest surface to shift to. Your lower body, especially the quads and hammys take a lot of strain, reaching the low balls and making sure you stay upright on dinky grass. For Roger coming from a deep showing at the US Open meant extra strain and soreness. For Stan with a leg/foot injury, it wasn’t ideal either.
I don’t know if international peeps understand but the court is literally built on the centre court of a row of grass courts at a prestigious golf club here in Sydney. They then build stands to seat 3700 people on the 2 sides. It like attending a big community tennis tournament.
2. They picked the best team possible: Hewitt, wimby champ, Tomic wimby quarter finalist, Guccione big server, tall huge wingspan, great at the net. And yes Rog has 6 Wimbys but Stan has never made it past the 4th round. Grass is arguably his worst surface by FAR,
3. They picked the best tactics. Putting Tomic up against Wawrinka, knowing that he had a better chance winning than against Fed. Teaming Guccione with Hewitt for the doubles, which meant resting Tomic for the reverse singles.
4. They were the best prepared,
“Gooch’ and I were up for it – we’ve been preparing for this for the last couple of weeks.” – Hewitt
In all honesty today’s rubber was brought to you by Chris Guccione, Tennis Journeyman, who was damn clutch today. After an easy giveaway break in the first game, Guccione was impenetrable and even though the Swissies lost, they really couldn’t really have done much against Guccione’s serve even if playing their best. But it’s sad to hear that the achilles injury he suffered sometime during the 3rd set may cost him his career. That’s tennis I gather, heartache and happiness in one sport.
As for the Swissies, Fed left his heart on the court, he didn’t play well but he was trying. Stan, not so much. After much discussion with fellow Federites today we’ve concluded that Stan is perhaps just a bad Davis Cup Player. There’s a sort of mentality a player needs to succeed in Davis Cup, some have it without as much singles success (Nalbandian, Hewitt) and some just can’t seem to rise to the challenge like Wawrinka.
Yes he was injured, but the entire tie you could feel this air of “Get me the fuck outta here” from Stan. Yes his leg was hurting and he hated the grass, hated the court, but could he have dug deeper? is the question.
anyhow, after a tough 4th break tiebreak, Australia came through 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (7-5).
Final day reverse singles looks grim for a clearly gimped and hobbling Swiss team. Tomic having been well rested on the 2nd day looks good to cause an upset against old man Rog. And Wawrinka is waiting on order from the docs to see if he plays the final tie. Switzerland may need a miracle to get through but I’ll be there along with the others cheering them on.
Even if it is Marco Chiudinelli in the end…
Rest of Today’s Photos by Moi, Here
So finally returning to Sydney after 9 years, Wogie Mcfed and his fellow Swissies take on the bright lights of Aussie tennis. The ground is the hallowed grass at Royal Sydney Golf Club. A Club so exclusive that for mere plebeians it probably takes 20+ years just to get on the waiting list.
Luckily due to the current ironic plebeian nature of tennis spectatorship, a bunch of us got to mush the golden paddock beneath our feet and it was glorious.
First up, young Tomic took on a slightly hobbling Ewok. Grass being Ewok’s least favoured surface it was clear that he pretty much just wanted to get out of there. After taking the 1st set, My Friend Stanley promptly rolled over to Tomic’s junk balls and excellent poise in 4 sets, 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-3.
Tomic showed maturity and patience, outlasting Stan the man in most rallies and waiting for his opponent to implode on the rest. Stan looked far from best and he realised that his man, Rog, needed to save the day.
Before Rog took the court, myself and my merry band of Federites tried a bit of stalkage at the walkway to the court. Alas, he kept alluding me, the others may have got better pics, but for me he hid behind bushes and his physio before he miraculously appeared red and ready on court.
Rog started fast against Hewitt who was having an AWESOME serving day. But once Hewitt adjusted his returns, Rog turned to his furdish ways an couldn’t find a 1st serve and subsequently lost the 1st set 5-7. My entire row of Federites went white as sheets and by the time he went down a break early in the 2nd we were all swearing precociously at him.
But thankfully, he finally figured out that he was here to play tennis and not just look pretty against the green backdrop. Hewitt fought valiantly but there was a clear night and day between the pace of his strokes and that of his Swiss nemesis. It all ended happily for us 5-7, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, 6-3 with some insanely high quality stuff in the 3rd and 4th sets. Revenge taken for that epic 5 set loss back in 2003, which in actuality, let’s not forget, started the Reign of Fed the Great.
So first day over 1-1, doubles tomorrow, hopefully more Wogie and *finger* crossed Swissies come out with the win.
Now I’ve see Roger Federer play on grass, I can finally attest to him being an absolute religious experience. For at least 2.5 sets today, anyway 😉
~photos by moi, the rest are here
Remember a month ago when there was crazy in the Montreal water and everyone was making fun of Canada? Well, the crazy just slipped through the borders and the customs and snuck into the New York water.
The day started off relatively normally, with expected wins for Vera Zvonareva and big guy Del Potro, with a mild upset at Armstrong with Lucie Safarova losing to Monica Niculescu. And then the crazy – crazier than Crazy Ponytail crazy – began.
Remember how I said in the OOP preview post that I was worried about Stanley because, y’know, something’s gotta give SOMETIME?
Well, that “sometime” did not turn out to be yesterday, as Wogie McFogie again proved to be much too good for the guy across the net. Try as he might, Stanley had no answers to his Friend Roge’s game. When your opponent’s weakest shot is as good as your strongest shot – that’s when you know that you’re kinda screwed.
Federer was on song from point 1, his backhand out-dazzling Stan’s backhand, and his shots kept singing and zinging for two sets, until a lapse in the third set allowed Stan to seize the advantage of a break-up. It was short lived as Roger broke back, and then broke again to comfortably avoid a tiebreak and seal the match.
It’s okay, Stanley. You will always have Campfire Times.
Federer’s quarterfinal opponent – however – is yet to be decided, as the Lord F and Monfees match was suspended due to darkness. As I write this, they’re still lock in a battle of “who-is-brain-cramping more” in the fifth set, as Monfils very Monfils-ly farted two match points and then the usually steady Lord F farted three game points. Ah well.
(Edit: A further 3 MPs on Lord F’s serve not farted, and Monfils is through to face Fed.)
Novak Djokovic, however, rolled over Reeshie Gasquet, who simply couldn’t keep up with, losing quite tamely in three sets. Sooo…Satan hasn’t lost in half a year, is on a 41-match streak and in very close proximity of wrestling the number 1 ranking from an out-of-sorts Rafa Nadal.
The proximity of only one friggin’ match in fact – because his quarter-final opponent, Fab Fog announced that he was pulling out from the tournament due to a left-thigh injury sustained in his marathon with Albert Montanes the day before.
After all that drama of a 5th set which includes:
1) Fab Fog receiving treatment mid-game when serving to stay in the match at 4-5 down, amidst fans’ booing;
2) Montanes blowing FOUR MATCH POINTS;
3) 95-minute set with the final score-line of 11-9.
It was a complete GIVEN that Fab Fog was going to get sporked by Satan’s pitchfork, especially since he was limping to the net after the match – but the retirement sees Djokovic getting a whooping four days’ rest before his semi-final match.
Somewhere out there, Montanes is sending hitmen to Fab Fog’s door, and Djokovic is sending lots of flowers, chocolates, and attractive female massage therapists.
For the ladies:
Marion Bartoli reached her first RG quarterfinal after Gisela Dulko retired with an ankle injury. Excuse me while I angst in a corner again – SAM, IT COULD’VE BEEN YOU.
And another top seed in the form of Vera Zvonareva took a tumble, losing to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (first time I typed her name right without looking! And then I found out I got it WRONG so it’s right again now) in three sets. So none of the top 3 seeds made it to the quarterfinals. This has not happened in a very long time.
Franny Schiavone is on the right track to her title defense, beating Glitter Gal JJ in three competitive sets. Daniela Hantuchova’s gallant run ended with Svetlana Kuznetsova – the latter prevailed over the sometimes Battle of the Brain.
I may be looking waaay ahead but I’m already looking forward to the Franny/Sveta semi-final. Please not to implode against Bartoli, Sveta. Keep yourself together and win your next match to give ME my wanted semi! I WANTS IT.
You know that Roger Federer is playing his own special brand of Jesus!Fed tennis when a non-tennis watcher – one who has constantly and continually mocked me for my obsession with yellow fuzzy balls and Federer’s non fuzzy nor frizzy chocolate brown curls – proclaimed that she would join me on my future tennis outings for a chance to stalk his pants.
My earlier frazzling/worrying about the match proved to be in vain as Rog came out firing from point one – ripping beautiful backhands, fantastic forehands and put on a show of spectacular serving. When he is in this sort of mood, the person across the net could pretty much do nothing but try to survive the walloping, which was what happened to Janko Tipsarevic.
The first set was over in less than 20 minutes, as Tipsarevic was broken twice due to his own errors and Federer’s genius. In the next two sets, Tipsarevic tried his best to keep up, even managing to earn himself a break point when Roger developed an obsession with failed drop-shots but TMF pretty much just served himself out of trouble. He secured one break in the second set, and broke the Other Serbian twice in the final set to clinch victory in slight over 90 minutes.
Federer is looking very very good, after three matches. I have to admit, it has been very lovely and refreshing to see him play so freely and prettily. If he keeps up this level of play…I won’t say it, but I know all of us are THINKING IT (ANTIJINX).
To the Tennis Gods, my offer of first born and blood still stands if…you know.
Anyway, have some pretty.
In other matches – the blockbuster match-up of the day between Del Potro and Djokovic was halted after two sets due to darkness. I actually stayed up until the ungodly hour of 330AM to catch the match, and although I was half dead throughout, I can see that there wasn’t much separating the two. It wasn’t a cracking, breathtakingly exciting match, but it was competitive throughout the two sets. Djokovic’s first set victory didn’t come easy, and neither did Delpo’s second set victory.
The two will continue to battle today on Lenglen, in what turns out to be a best-of-3 affair. It’s anyone’s guess, as to who will triumph, although I know I want WHO to triumph.
As for the other guys in the field:
1) Good day for the Frenchies, as they make it two out of three, with Gael Monfils dumping Steve Darcis, ending his giant-killing run – and Reeshie Gasquet finally overcoming a determined Thomaz Belluci in four sets.
2) It was nearly a perfect 3 out of 3 for France though – if Jo-Wills Tsonga had not blown a two-set lead against Ewok the Other Swiss. He was even up a break in the 3rd, but allowed Stan to fight back spectacularly. For the final two sets, it was all about Stan being the Man as he breezed through against the tiring Tsonga, showing that McFed not the only Swiss that can put on a spectacular show. Great comeback by Stanley, and he earned himself a chance to play His Friend Roge in the 4th round.
3) Is anyone frazzling about Lord F yet? Initially I was quite okay with having him in Roger’s quarter, brick wall and all. But he’s been sweeping through his matches with deadly ease – destroying Sergiy Stakhovsky in only allowing 5 games – and certainly enjoying the flight under the radar. Coupled with a great run in Melbourne and a solid clay season…urm, I’m starting to wish he stayed out of Roger’s quarter.
4) Mikhail Youzhny lost tamely to Albert Montanes – eating two breadsticks. He staged a great comeback in the second set to take it to a tiebreaker after being down a break, but totally brain-farted in the tiebreak, only taking one point. I need to get off the Headsmashy Bandwagon – but I really did think he’ll have another career surge after making the semis of USO last year. Ah well.
5) Fab Fog beat Garcia-Lopez to earn himself a spot in the fourth round. One quarterfinal this year WILL feature Fog OR Montanes…that made my brain stopped working for two seconds.
On the ladies’ side – the Aussie flag took a HUGE tumble, with Sammy Stosur crashing out to Gisela Dulko, who had her giant-killing pants on yesterday. It’s really disappointing for Sammy – for I think as far as Slams go, her best bet is the French because she’s got a better game on clay. The thing with Sam is, I felt like she’s just not at a place where she is 100% confident with her game, and with herself. She was up a break in the third set after a solid performance in the second set, but couldn’t keep that break, and was broken again with Dulko triumphing.
Good news is, she moves onto the grass to start training for Wimbledon. Bad news is, I don’t think she’ll get very far there.
The shocker of the day though – or perhaps not so shocking when you consider the innate shot-making ability of Daniela Hantuchova – saw top seed Kangaroo Woz tumbling out of the tournament in straights. She was no match for Dani yesterday, who just came out like a woman on a mission, butchering Woz in the first set.
There was a slight wobble in the second that saw Caro break her serve – where I was afraid she might actually lose it, because of the manner she was broken. It looked like a double-bounce on Woz’s side of the court, which would give the point to Hantuchova, but umpire called it good and Woz was like “whut no it didn’t double –bounce” so that was that. But since she was double-break up, she managed to hold on to eventually win the match.
As for Woz – the relevant question was “do you feel the pressure of being a Slamless no.1?” and her relevant quote was “blah blah blah no” and my response was “oh, that’s so relevant.” Honestly? I don’t like the girl, neither do I like her game, but journos have to come up with better questions. If you want to ask the same thing a thousand times over, at least come up with a NEW way of asking it.
This is the first time since 1971 that the top two women’s seeds did not survive the first week of a Slam, and questions were raised again about the depth of the field. To which I say…BRING BACK SERENA WILLIAMS!!! Surely she is the epitome of consistency that the WTA Tour really needs.
Other than that, it was uneventful for the women as all the other seeds got through their matches safely. Marion “high IQ” Bartoli provided some cheer for the French crowd as she overcame Julia Goerges in three sets.
And that’s the wrap, folks.
P.S. photos from daylife.com
Each year, Indian Wells proves to be one of the least fruitful tournaments for the doubles specialists of the game. There you are, wrapped in your own little bubble, ranked No 3 in the world and no doubt feeling rather doozy about the size of your balls … until the richest man in tennis sashays in with his Ewok-looking minion and flicks you out of the tournament in 49 minutes.
BOOM. You are hit with the realisation that your balls will never be as big as the size of McFed’s ego and TALENT. Life’s tough, ain’t it?
All that was a long winded way of saying that Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray all came through their first round doubles match today. In fact, the only top 10 player who isn’t playing doubles this week in Indian Wells happens to one gentleman named Andy Roddick. With this strong a field, it might be slim pickings for the actual “doubles specialists” who do this on a day in, day out basis.
While we’re on the topic of Wogie McArsserer, dude has announced today that he will play Monte Carlo this year, after skipping the tournament in 2010. It’s a good call, as he will be defending close to nothing for the next 4 tournaments and could in fact consolidate a strong position in the rankings before the Roland Garros-Wimbledon bonanza rolls around.
But his Indian Wells campaign is due to be off to a rather uncertain start – Wogie faces Igor Andreev, the-right-handed-Nadal-but-shit second round. The last two matches he has played against Andreev at the US Open 2008 and Australian Open 2010 both caused my stomach acid to burn all the way through to my ovaries. FRACKITY FRACKING FUDGEBALLS!
Careful dude, you might be in doubles for longer than in singles.
In singles tennis, it was as tough day for the Aussies, as Not-a-Fucking-Tourist played like a fucking tourist to be bundled out of the tournament by Sara Errani. Lleyton was sent packing in straight sets by Rendy Lu, 62 63, and Chris Gooch lost to wildcard James Flake (oh remember him?), 36 63 62.
Unfortunately, the aTomic remains an Aussie hope in the Indian Wells draw, due to face Victor Trotsky next round in a Clash of the Classness. I would rate this match on a scale of 1 to annoying, except the mercury might blow right through the scale.
That’s all for today. With so much tennis going on, you’d be surprised to know that there is absolutely no stream coverage of the event. Time for Indian Wells to join the 21st century, I say!
Having been through 8 days of Rod Laver Arena action live, you see two sides to the RLA crowd. The savage, blood-thirsty gang that ruled the midnight dogfight between Wogie v Gilly Simmo, and the orderly, well-moneyed patrons of a straight-sets blow-out, politely clapping along to each point as they sip their sparkling rosé moscato.
Yesterday’s match was neither because it was a match fell on the other side of the divide between competition and entertainment. As the match progressed, that were waves of “oooohs” and “aaaaah”s through the rallies. The crowd forgot about the competition between the two players for points and games, and instead, sat back to admire the quality of either player’s shots, even when the rallies ended with a shank.
In short, they were entertained, and I was feeling gloriously excited from a Southerly direction.
On the surface, the score line was a blow-out, and I’ve heard various reports of *ahem* certain US commentators disappointed that Stan did not make it more competitive. “Did not” is one possible choice of words, “could not” is another, certainly Courier and the commentary team in Australia sounded like they might’ve opted for the latter.
I was worried about Not-So-Man coming into the match. The sheer audacity of his shotmaking against Monfils and Roddick was frightening and top 10 in its quality. But it shouldn’t have surprised me that what worked for Not-So-Man against Monfils and Roddick didn’t work against Federer. During the match against Monfils, Lleyton, who was commentating for Ch 7 at the time, made an astute comment that Gael’s style of play was giving Not-So-Man the pace and rhythm to play himself into form and find his range.
The reverse of that happened yesterday – Mister Banana Smoothie smothered Stan with variations of pace, spin and very little rhythm. To his credit, Stan hung on as desperately as he could in the second and third set, but by 5-3 in the second set, Wogie McDodgie was in exhibition mood, and the crowd was laughing, whooping and jizzing their pants that tennis could be played like this, so casual, so stunning, and so illogically both at the same time.
I was told yesterday by Ticketek staff that there was a mass exodus of people buying Day Session Rod Laver tickets and returning their night sessions last minute, when Wogie was unexpectedly put on yet another day session. This is why.
Mentioning stunning, something about Australia just seems to bring out the best in Li Li Na Na, year after year. After making the semifinals in Melbourne last year, after beating Kim Clijsters in Sydney last week, Li Li Na Na is through to yet another slam semi.
Are you thinking about it?! Don’t even pretend you’re not thinking about it: 1.3 billion heads’ worth of a dormant market. A QUARTER OF THIS FUCKING PLANET. Now let us wake this sleeping bitch of a giant tennistical dragon.
P.S. Happy Australia Day by the way! I love a sunburnt country … no really, I do.
The end of Week 1 always makes me a blue.
The first week of the Aus Open has a village fair atmosphere to it, so full of youth and vibrancy. People come for the tennis, but also for star-gazing, freebies, amusement park-styled stalls, and a little rock-and-roll with the live bands.
By the second week, the smell of sausages is gradually replaced with the smell of gun-power … or Dootsie’s hair on fire. This is serious business bitches. So serious, that it must be spelt SRS BSNS.
Anyone heard John Isner’s Barmy Army at the Aus Open?
Here they are. In their own universe, it all made sense.
So getting down to the SRS BSNS: I spent my entire weekend right where I spent the last one: at Melbourne Park, making it 9 consecutive days of dawn to dusk tennis, and by close of play on Sunday, I was bleeding yellow fuzz coming of my nostrils.
There is such a thing as tennistical overkill, after all.
1. Canadian tennis. It like … exists or something.
As of Sunday night, when Andy Roddick was whipped off the court by the Wawrinka backhand, Milos Raonic became the only “North American” left in both the men and women’s draw. He eventually ran out of steam today against Ferrer, losing in 4 sets after taking the first emphatically, but I saw him earlier, against Youzhny, where he clobbered the Headclobber with icy power.
Not much not to like – massive serve, attacking, purposeful baseline game with a good affinity to the net – an unfortunate resemblance to Mark the Poo. Let’s hope Milos has more motivation and less of a penchant for reality TV than Scud.
The only thing I’m sure I’ll grow to dislike: hearing his migrant family story over and over again in the years to come.
2. New balls, pwease.
Sometimes I wonder what would happen one day when I lose my Swiss muse. As much as I love tennis, words just flow more when I write about McWoger – or rather – they burst through a dam of angst, anger and adoration.
But new faces are focussing out of the blur too – faces that I think I could get used to:
- Cilic Peppers, despite losing erratically to Rafa last night, is looking less like an empty shell and more like the shot-twisting stick insect that he was one year ago.
- Dolgopolurrrve seems to have caught the annual Aussie Open giant-slaying bug, literally slaying the gigantic Tsonga and Soderling. I remember the first time I ever saw his name at last year’s Brisbane International: “how on earth did Bernanrd Tomic lose to someone named Oleksandr Dolgopolov Jnr?” I asked. I don’t think anyone would be saying that after the spirited performance he put on against Soderling yesterday.
- The Petkorazzi, newly crowned Miss Popularity of the Aussie Open, danced on the grave of Maria Sharapova after defeating her in straight sets. As much as I hate to admit it, Shazza has completely lost the zinging presence she used to have on court – her movement exploited, her power matched, but her mind and spirit as eager as ever. As a fan, it’s been a hard journey watching her attempt to rediscover her slam-winning form pre-injury, a journey that del Potro fans will take in the coming year.
- Petra Kvitova, shotmaking brilliant in its sheer randomness, eyes shining with desire and determination. Sam Stosur couldn’t have done much more to neutralise the deluge, and mercifully, most of the Australian media have picked up on this assessment.
- Bernard Tomic, almost universally disliked in tennis fandom, deserved a lot of credit for the pressure he unexpectedly exerted on Nadal. I wonder if sometimes, it takes a little bit of brattishness to be nonchalant to the occasion of playing the top seed and one of the great guys on the ATP tour. As for his style of play, until he moves with the kind of cat-like court coverage that Murray brings to the game, I think we can stop with that comparison. If anything, Tomic plays like Marin Cilic with greater variation.
None of them stirs up the kind of dam-bursting desire to blog that Wogie McFed does, perhaps I won’t find another muse like him for a long time, but they are reasons to keep watching and keep returning to the moving tides of tennis, to see if these tiny ripples converge into tidal waves of awesome further down stream.
3. THE MATCH.
I could come up with a wittier tag line, but I think CAPSLOCK suffices to express my awe. You know you’ve just witness something that transcends tennis when your non-tennis following friends ring you to let you know, “I just saw the most amazing tennis match …”
There is a difference (or so I’ve always felt) between fearlessness and bravery, being not just the mere absence of fear. Sometimes, it is precisely brave to overcome your fear, to play through it and live dangerously. To paraphrase a well-known truism, “it is better to have fought and lost than to have never fought at all.”
And third set between Schiavone and Kuznetsova epitomised this sentiment to poignantly. Neither wanted to lose, both struggled physically and mentally to hold and to convert match points. Yet neither relied on the other to hand the match over on a silver plait. Neither stopped making their shots, swinging for the fences. Neither stopped attacked, or fell back into their comfort zone. The longer the match went for (the clock finally stopped at 4:44), the more they put on the line. Winner takes all, loser is left with nothing but the tale of a lifetime.
Unlike the Petkorazzi or Kvitova, there was no merry dance to celebrate this fight to death; there was no youthful, eager spark in the eyes of either woman, a desire to prove oneself on a big stage for the first time in their career. Sveta and Franny played with such bravery, maturity and hearts of steel that they made the contrast between girl and woman on the WTA tour an incredible sight to behold in a single tournament.
Perhaps the best moment after the match was when Svetlana Kuznetsova logged onto Twitter after the match with this tweet:
i was worryed that i gaig one kg…i think i ve lost it)))
It takes a giant well of optimism to joke about your own heartache.
4. The Outsider
The amount of Wawrinka-hate I am being exposed to in tennis fandom these days is making me sick.
Such is the absurdity of human existence, that when a man decides, for whatever reason UNKNOWN to us, to end a relationship and inform the world of it, our first reaction is to judge. Our second – to hate. Our third – to wish a fellow human being ill. As my nan would say, if you haven’t got anything nice to say to that, don’t fucking speak at all.
At the end of the day, Wawrinka is a tennis player. What he chooses to do with his private life is none of our fucking business. He’s never going to be the next Mister Family Man, but without cheating on court, without bringing an inexcusable attitude to tennis, I had no reason not to cheer him on as he played like a man possessed to dismiss Roddick, hitting a total of 67 winners to 19 unforced errors.
I hope Wogie McFed saw the stats sheet.