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The Lonely Guy 07/23/2007 - 1:05 AM

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Once again , greetings from California!

After reading some Comments yesterday, I have learned that many of you really have never experienced LA in all its glory – so I'll give you a little background to go with your tennis. LA is, first and foremost, HUGE. One giant urban/suburban sprawl, encompassing approximately 13 million people in the city proper and surrounding suburbs. The area is  44 miles long and 29 miles wide. (that, from Wikipedia). The population is incredibly diverse- white, black , Asian , Hispanic. You can find some of the wealthiest people in the world, as well as some of the poorest. This whole cultural melting pot is tied together by the Freeway system - the bane of every Angeleno's existence. It is this never-ending ribbon of interconnecting congestion that ties us all together. How weird is that? How LA is that?

From my home in Palos Verdes – in the southern part of LA, near the beach – I must take the 405 - aka the San Diego Freeway - to get to Westwood, in west-central LA, and the site of the Countrywide Classic tournament. The tournament is played at the tennis facility on the grounds of the University of California, Los Angeles - better known as UCLA.  On a good day , Mapquest tells us, the trip to Westwood ought to take me 45 minutes.

HA! 
What Mapquest fails to tell us is that there is never a good day on the  405 – and if you do not give yourself an hour or more, you'll never get anywhere on time. One thing you do have on the trip is time to think. What do I think about ? I think if I had to drive on this road everyday , as many do, I would become a serious alcoholic instead of a mere dabbler.

Westwood is the home of the storied UCLA Bruins athletic teams. The campus is in an upscale area of the kind you see in, well, Hollywood movies about glamorous LA.  I find it odd that a state-run institution – and one that prides itself on being a shining beacon of the liberal arts system in California – is located smack dab in the middle of some of the most expensive real estate in LA.

Westwood is bounded by Bel Air and the Wilshire corridor, which leads directly to Beverly Hills. The irony is even more delicious - or infuriating - when you know that USC, the University of Southern California, UCLA's arch-rival in all things including sports, is located in an area of Los Angeles most charitably described as the turf of the "working poor."  A critic might call it gang heaven. At any rate, USC is often revlied for being conservative, and is sometimes referred to as the University of Spoiled Children, yet it seems much more connected to the gritty street life of LA than does UCLA. It's just this kind of irony that makes LA such an intriguing place. But I digress.

Once on the UCLA campus – I don my Trojan visor (I have a spunky image to keep up!). I figured that would make it easy for posters French Open Fanatic and Veruca Salt to spot me. It wasn't long before I found Lauren (aka FOF), but we never did connect with Brooke. I hope she made it to the tournament and enjoyed her first live tennis match - we were treated to some good stuff.

James Blake and Hyung Taik Lee were the feature match. It was a beauty - three sets of really good tennis. James won the first, Lee took the second, and then James pulled it out in the end. Honestly, the whole match seemed to be about James. He played well in the first , took a dip, and then brought his level back up. Lee played solid tennis throughout  - but he did not have another, higher gear to shift into when he most needed to elevate his game and put a lid on James's comeback. That's something James has going for him - he's mercurial, capable of going on a tear at any given time.

Both men covered the court well, but James forehand ultimately  made the difference in the match. He has an ability to unleash a powerful blow, or combination of blows, to finish a rally in a devastating, dispiriting way. It is a truly spectacular weapon - and one is lost in translation to television. I looked forward to seeing James in the final, on Sunday, although I confess I wasn't looking forward to seeing his shorts again. The gear he's wearing now is neon blue,  with a huge, vertical white  stripe. As TW Comment posters have noted in the past, James has serious booty – in fact, so serious that I see no need to draw attention to it in the brightest blue shorts you can imagine. Shame on Nike, for trying to exploit James' appeal in such a tacky way. They should dress him better.

Blake

Lauren and I had fun with the fashion commentary and enjoyed swapping tennis stories – It was a good day. Our fashion eye also fell upon Pam Shriver, who was seated courtside – in possibly the ugliest shoes we have ever seen. They looked like huge heavy black hiking boots and while sturdy,and probably good for walking. . .let’s just say – EWwwwwwww. I mean , she was just sitting there, all day – a pair of good tennis shoes would have been just fine – and much less conspicuous.

In the evening, my husband met me for dinner and some more tennis. However, Kiefer withdrew to kill the marquee match. He was gracious, addressing the crowd to explain what happened, and to express his disappointment at having to quit, but it was still a bummer. But then the Bryan Brothers saved the day - again. They beat the South Africa duo of Moodie and Coetzee.

My husband isn't a tennis player,  but he loved the fast paced action and aggressive net play of doubles . It has far greater appeal to him than does singles, which is kind of interesting and not entirely good news for typical tennis promoters. I don't think he's in a minority, either, and it isn't like he doesn't know his sports.

We did see another doubles match, which was won by Lipsky and Martin – who will be the Bryans opponents in the final. Get this: Lipsky and Martin beat the team of Ratawitana/Ratawitana. If the result had gone the other way, we would have had an all-twins final - the Bryans against the Ratawitanas, and they could have put just one name on the scoreboard for each team. 

After a very long day , I turned my little Mini back onto the 405 to head home for some sleep - and to get ready for the final.

Postscript:

In the final, James Blake played Radek Stepanek. That Blake got to the final is probably a good sign, because he needs to rebuild his game - and fast.  But this match was less about the fast pace Blake hoped too impose, and which he likes, than Stepanek's ability to upset Blake's rythym. Blake feeds on pace, so Radek gave him spin and guile. Oh, Stepanek can crank it up when he needs, but that isn't his Plan A, nor his only plan, as it is for some ball bangers. Stepanek knows how to make the best use of the drop shot, and he's skilled enough to play serve and (drop) volley at times. It's hardly surprising that he dates Martina Hingis; there's some serious tennis DNA on both sides in that couple.

Stepanek's crafty, slow, diverse approach messed with James's head. By the third set, Blake was really frustrated. He started going for bigger and bigger shots. He would build a lead in a service game, eager to roll, and then Radek would slow things down - He would go for the towel, adjust his socks, tug at his shoelaces. He did this so often that the crowd almost turned on him, even though he had won their affection in the first set. At one point, he broke a string and took an agonizingly long time replacing his frame - all the while with Blake waiting to serve. It was such a conspicuous stalling tactic that the crowd roared its displeasure. But Stepanek seemed to know he could win them back, and he did.

Stepanek used every weapon at his disposal, and he eventually won. You had to feel for the guy - it was his first tournament win after a long hiatus caused by injury, yet he looked like the lonely guy - he had no coach, no entourage, no fiance along for the celebration. But celebrate he did, falling to the court. He threw  his racquet into the crowd, like he had just won a Grand Slam.  Stepanek was awarded a bottle of champagne from a sponsor. He was so excited that he wanted to pop the cork right there. From the grim competitor on Friday , he had been transformed into a giggly child. He could not contain his glee, and the crowd loved it.

Welcome to Hollywood , land of dreams, Radek!

--- Beth


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Posted by abbey 07/23/2007 at 01:22 AM

awww, beth. this is such a great report. felt like i was there. plus, your added insights on l.a. was tops for us spread across the globe.

and also, you made me feel...well, something, for radek. now, will you be willing to give him even a pity date? ;)

Posted by abbey 07/23/2007 at 01:30 AM

oh and also, loved the fashion report. saw those shorts of blake first on berdych in stuttgart. those are some ugly colored and ill-fitting (too loose) shorts really. hope they don't last for the entire uso series.

Posted by JT 07/23/2007 at 01:31 AM

nice write-up.

boo SC. Go Bears!

Posted by Sahadev 07/23/2007 at 01:42 AM

Thanks for the write-up, Beth, and interesting analysis of the final. From what Blake said in his post-match comments, he did have a strategy - he knew Stepanek would come to the net, so he wanted to get to the net first and force Stepanek to pass him. I guess there's also the question of execution... Stepanek is not the most talented ball-striker, but he has such a sharp mind, he's very hard to play.

Posted by JillfromNY 07/23/2007 at 01:46 AM

Radek took an injury time-out, but then celebrated at the end by jumping around like he was injury-free. The crowd seemed clueless, but to me, that was a turn-off.

Posted by zola 07/23/2007 at 01:51 AM

Beth,
you are quite a writer. I enjoyed every word of your post. Thanks a lot.
I watched the game on ESPN. I noticed Radek's frequent adjustment of his socks , didn't know it was a tactic. Silly me!
I think I was bummed so much by that J Block thingy that didn't notice that.

IS your visor dark blue? If so, I might have spotted you on TV!

Posted by Andrea 07/23/2007 at 01:56 AM

Beth-
Great post!
Sounds like San Diego Freeway is a nightmare for you.
It was a great win for Radek, unfortunately tough luck for James.

Posted by Andrea 07/23/2007 at 01:59 AM

Zola-
She was wearing a Trojan visor, no? It couldn't have been blue. Had to have been red and yellow.

Posted by Andrea 07/23/2007 at 02:04 AM

Beth-
Yikes! Your comment about Pam's shoes was pretty harsh. lol!

Posted by tangerine popsicle (tangi) 07/23/2007 at 02:11 AM

Wow, the "fashion" (and I use that term loosely) I saw at this tournament makes me long for the Wimby whites again. Did you see Marat's bright orange number? From the front, he looked like a giant pumpkin! The Bryan brothers didn't look any better in their loud blue number. Adidas and Nike have really put out some horrible stuff this year.

Tennis and figure skating (my other favorite sport) are in desperate need of new designers, particularly for the men.

Can't wait to see what Roger will be wearing in Montreal! I think Nike has dressed him very well this year. I especially loved that light blue shirt/headband at the AO this year. And I always think everyone looks best in white shorts -- very crisp and cool in the heat.

Posted by 07/23/2007 at 02:18 AM

Great report, Beth!
How was the crowd for the final? It looked like the crowds have been pretty sparse all week, which is too bad. I did not see a ton of promotion around here the past couple of months, and it did not seem like many locals were that aware that the tournament was happening. Back in the day when Andre and Pete played it I remember it being a very hot ticket. Then again, this is the city that completely ignored the WTA Championships held at the Staples Center for several years. So embarrasing to see those matches with genuine star players being played in front of mostly empty seats.

Do people think Blake gained confidence this week overall, or does the loss to Radek count as a setback in his preparation for NY?

Posted by tangerine popsicle (tangi) 07/23/2007 at 02:23 AM

It looked like there were a lot of empty seats for the final. I was surprised -- after all, Blake is a very popular American in the top ten. What was the buzz about this at the tournament?

Posted by Jenn 07/23/2007 at 02:27 AM

Sorry - that was me above at 2:18 a.m. Time for bed!

Posted by tangerine popsicle (tangi) 07/23/2007 at 02:48 AM

Jenn,

Here's what Blake said in the report on the ATP website:

"I barely had a look at his first serve in the third set. He served really well. I'm feeling good about the tennis I'm playing."

I don't know if that answers your question ...

Posted by Ren 07/23/2007 at 03:23 AM

Blake has proven his ability to bounce back. This one is not going to hurt him.

Posted by Fedexfan 07/23/2007 at 03:48 AM

Great report.

Just heard that he has broken his partnership with Bhubathi in doubles, during which he got dropped out of top 100 from being in the top 10. I hope does well to get his singles ranking back. I guess his doubles assignments has improved his net play.

Posted by Samantha 07/23/2007 at 08:18 AM

Beth, great job, it made me feel as if I was right there and that's what good writing is all about, like reading a novel. The match, Blakes problems was he went for winners and tried to end the points too soon when he should have tried to keep the ball in play. Radex in ranked in the lOO and Blake is supposed to be a top ten player. Well, yesterday it seemed the reverse. Again, if American tennis is counting on Blake or Roddick to win a slam, they're going to be in for a long wait. Go Justine!

Posted by Samantha 07/23/2007 at 08:27 AM

I forgot to add, there's nothing like live tennis. You see what great athletes the player are and the actual speed of the ball. It's totally different from watching it on tv. It makes you appreciate the players more. Go Justine!

Posted by patrick 07/23/2007 at 08:32 AM

Samantha,
Radek was number 8 after Wimby last year before his injury so I was not surprised by yesterday's result. Radek made a lot of clutch shots yesterday.
Also, do you think any of the WTA stars,other than Jankoic, will show up in San Diego next week? Stanford is lacking that big name even though the story line this week is can Bartoli continue to play well and can Anna C win back-to-back tourneys.

Posted by Samantha 07/23/2007 at 08:51 AM

Patrick, I'm not sure. Sharapova has point to defend. I thought Venus was playing, but I just checked the site and I don't see her name listed. I hope she's playing.

Posted by evie 07/23/2007 at 09:13 AM

Beth, fantastic first-hand account, thanks!

Posted by DMS 07/23/2007 at 09:30 AM

Thank you Beth, great reporting and insights into the differing SES of the geography surrounding UCLA v USC...and I believe some of us spotted you (tribespotting perhaps would be the word?) but you can only be so sure. LOL. We (AmyLu and myself) did hear you call that ball "out" in the first set of the Blake-Stepanek match, you really should contain yourself..LOL...great stuff, sorry for homework, rest up for Indy.

Posted by Andrea 07/23/2007 at 09:41 AM

Why don't they spray champagne after the match in LA? Or Indy? Or any U.S. tournament for that matter?

Posted by DMS 07/23/2007 at 09:48 AM

btw...thanks for the link yesterday Andrea.

Posted by TF 07/23/2007 at 09:53 AM

Hi, I know it's time after wimbeldon final & we already forgot the hawk-eye incident, but here's the official explanation:
http://tinyurl.com/2rs7h9
OR FOR THE SUSPICIOUS ONES:
http://preview.tinyurl.com/2rs7h9

Posted by Pete 07/23/2007 at 10:19 AM

Beth, thanks for this terrific report, you've done PV tennis proud!

Posted by superSnark 07/23/2007 at 10:34 AM

Stepanek played an interesting match yesterday. I do believe the 'hamstring problem' was gamesmanship, if not entirely then in part. He seemed to be tiring more than Blake, and with his power rhythm game, such a hold up can disrupt Blake's play. That said, Stepanek's shot selection was sharp, although he could overpower Blake, he placed the ball where Blake didn't want it, and kept him off balance and out of rhythm.

Posted by Ray Stonada 07/23/2007 at 10:53 AM

Truly Beth, I loved this report, and especially the bits of L.A. sociology - as a New Yorker, LaLa exerts this total fascination on me.

I think you're right on the mark about Stepanek: he won because of his greater variety. James' game plan is the "hard, harder, hardest" one and he very rarely changed his rhythm or threw Radek off. And Radek was treeing and hitting some Federer-esque (really! don't you think?) shots, especially passes after drawing James forward. Congrats to him!

Posted by susi 07/23/2007 at 10:55 AM

My first chance to catch up on TW posts in a couple of days. Great reports from LA Beth. I don't think the loss will impact Blake too much. Making the finals is a good kick off for his hard court season. I think Stepanek must have read his book, though, because Blake says many times in the book that he hates when players drop shot him and Stepanek landed a number of very successful droppers yesterday! On to Indianapolis!

Posted by jhurwi 07/23/2007 at 11:17 AM

Beth, re gamesmanship: Stepanek does have that reputation--though of course, there are other players who have been known to slow things down by adjusting their socks, toweling off , etc., and others who have been treated for injury and then not seemed to be seriously affected in their movement. During the third set, Pam Shriver made a lengthy report on her conversation with the trainer. She seemed to go out of her way to emphasize that he said Stepanek's hamstring injury was genuine, perhaps because Stepanek does have that reputation for gamesmanship.

Posted by Heidi 07/23/2007 at 11:36 AM

Interesting analysis, Beth. Thanks very much! I skipped the final since I had friends in town and didn't hear what happened till this morning. I know very little about Stepanek, but I did think that James would win this one. Still, he'll probably build on this for his busy hardcourt summer.

Re your comment that Lee doesn't have another gear, truer words were never spoken. Talk about a guy who has built his career through solid playing and training and sheer persistence. As with all the debate in the Breaking Back thread, these are admirable people, no less than the big Slam winners.

Posted by Beth 07/23/2007 at 11:43 AM

good morning, folks! glad you enjoyed the report.
That was not me making line calls! I know my tennis etiquette. Something a lot of people in the crowd yesterday did not.What I thought was most funny was the crowd urging the players to challenge. As the match went on - someone would yell
" challenge " every time a ball was called out - as if ending the set with challenges left was some dire crime-kind of like dying with accrued paid vacation.
From the stands I could not tell anything about the treatment for an injury - what they were treating. All I know is that it did not affect his movement in the end - I figured it was probably cramping - because it was very hot out there.
The crowd for the final was late arriving - but by mid first set , it was pretty full. Those empty seats along the side were the seats for those high rollers who were seated under the umbrellas - they just never came out into the sun - but they were there.
Forgot to give you the celebrity sightings - Saturday - none , every celebrity in LA with a decent agent was at the Galaxy game - to see Becks. Sunday- only saw Kevin Garnett of the NBA - clearly in the Blake camp - much better body language than Blake - he was fist pumping with every winner , and really urging James on, He is huge - and In a neon yellow shirt and at least 2 carat diamond earring - he was really a standout.
Sam - could you e mail your articles on positive body language to James - I think a refresher course would do him some good.
My visor was red - but yesterday I wore a black hat - cause the top of my head got sunburned Saturday.
and Finally - Pete - thanks for giving me the chance to write - and for making me sound really good ! It was fun.

Posted by Sam 07/23/2007 at 11:57 AM

LOL Beth. I'll send those to James right away!
Great job with the LA report!

Posted by Beth 07/23/2007 at 12:06 PM

just caught up on a little reading back through the threads
Rosangel - Westwood is a suburb of LA -kind of like SW19 is of London-
Someone asked yesterday- and yes, Stepanek did do an exhibition Saturday night after the Bryans doubles match.When we arrived Saturday night , he was on court warming up - he clearly had no idea Kiefer was going to withdraw- Stepanek was ready to play . So I guess they found an opponent-they kept saying a "mystery guest" to the crowd - for him to play and hoped the crowd would stick around. I imagine some people did - but I was really tired - long day - so I left after the feature match .

Posted by DMS 07/23/2007 at 12:41 PM

"as if ending the set with challenges left was some dire crime-kind of like dying with accrued paid vacation."

LOL Beth, nicely done.:)

Posted by Beth 07/23/2007 at 12:56 PM

after looking over comments - I mayhave to take the time to check some of this match out on tape. Was the J block really bad yesterday? I honestly did not notice them at all.
and - nope - still no pity date for Radek - he is just not my type - but , I did appreciate the variety of his game , as opposed to James' hard and harder style.

Posted by Libby 07/23/2007 at 01:01 PM

>>My husband isn't a tennis player, but he loved the fast paced action and aggressive net play of doubles . It has far greater appeal to him than does singles, which is kind of interesting<<

That's funny -- my husband loves to watch singles but because of TTC's increased coverage, the world of doubles has really caught his interest and for the same reasons it caught your husband.

Thanks for the report, Beth!

Posted by Nicholas 07/23/2007 at 01:18 PM

Beth! Thanks for such a great piece and tremendous writing. I loved the insider's info on LA - the 405 sounds much like the 405 in the Seattle area, always a mess!

Posted by highpockets 07/23/2007 at 01:29 PM

Beth, I looked for you in the stands, but to no avail.

The 405 is my favorite L.A. freeway. NOT! And your description of the area was just right ... everything there is a contradiction. However, on a smog-free day when you can see all the mountains surrounding the L.A. basin, and out to the ocean ... gorgeous!

Fashion question ... what kind of shorts could James wear that would do his "booty" justice? I'm not sure, but what if (and don't get crazy on me, RNKAS) he wore piratas? After all, Rafael has a similar situtation. Granted, there are significant differences between the two posteriors ... but would piratas help to minimize in Blake's case?

Just throwing out ideas ... no shoe throwing please!

Rosangel, is there already a RNKAS rule regarding the wearing of piratas?

Anyway, great reporting, Beth.

Posted by highpockets 07/23/2007 at 01:30 PM

Oh, I meant to mention too that because of TTC, my husband has expressed that he likes the fast pace of doubles and enjoys watching. Interesting phenomenon here!

Posted by Beth 07/23/2007 at 02:07 PM

HP - pooh - I missed my moment of fame on television. Frankly - I did not think they would show me - I was sitting too high in the crowd. I did try to wave at the camera man who was taking photos of Kevin Garnett - I was pretty much directly behind him - about 8 rows up - but who can see an average sized woman behind such a huge man?
about the fashion - I don't think tight pants would help - the baggy basketball style is ok on James, it was just that bright color - it screamed "look at me"" when clearly , that is not james' best feature.

Posted by Metro 07/23/2007 at 02:25 PM

Beth,

I love your diverse match report part 2 from LA as it displays a wide range of tennis related issues. The opening of LA is like a piece of travel writing in my weekend paper, the USC/UCLA neighbourhood is educational. The fashion commentary is sharp and funny, only women can pull this of. Your match reports provide good details that the TV does not fully catch (stalling tactics or tactics). I benefited from the analysis of match strategy of both players and how Radek overcame Blake.

I saw Radek's variety at Queen's Club, but his match against Sanguinetti was cut short by Sanguinetti's injury.

Posted by .com 07/23/2007 at 02:26 PM

Thanks, Beth, for one of the greatest posts I've read here. Now LA sounds more fascinating and peculiar than ever for me.

Posted by Anti-Matter 07/23/2007 at 02:51 PM

Donald Young, we are waiting.

Posted by 07/23/2007 at 03:19 PM

Beth,

I wouldn’t say James’ butt was a bad feature. I know a few women on the circuit that could use some of what he’s got*cough*Sharapova*. I prefer Rafa’s though. I don’t care for James’ from a side angle lol.*shrug*

Posted by Fruedian Slip 07/23/2007 at 03:22 PM

Beth, wow! You are a wordsmith! I love it that you gave us a sense of LA as a distinctive place. During the final, I tried to count the number of blondess wearing USC colors/visors, and gosh darn it, I think you had a point.... ;)

Posted by susan 07/23/2007 at 04:56 PM

Stepanek's behavior was abhorrent in the final, I was embarassed to see him prancing around like that as if hed won a grand slam or something. Totally classless. His brand of gamesmaship should not be rewarded, encouraged, or spoken of as "guille".

But I will also say that the LA audience was terrific. It was a very enthusiastic crowd.

Posted by Beth 07/23/2007 at 05:05 PM

really guys - you are kind of embarassing me- believe me - if you had seen the rough drafts I sent to Pete - you would know that he worked his magic here - and made me look good . The general ideas were mine - but he made it go. That is why he is the pro and the editor!
while some of Stepanek's stalling tactics did annoy me - once I heard about his injury - and the fact that for quite some time - he had even lost feeling in his hand and was afraid he would never be able to play again - I thought his celebration was pretty genuine - over the top - but real emotion on display.

Posted by mad about fed 07/23/2007 at 06:10 PM

re: gamesmanship. last week i watched the XO match of federer/nadal in korea(?). nadal didn't exhibit any of his normal ticks ie: sock pulling, nicker picking(a little), hair primping, placement of water bottles and toweling off. he took no more time between points than federer did. federers time between points did not change. and another thing on a scale from 1 to 10(10 being highest) nadals grunting during points was a 3. he didn't grunt hardly at all.

so what are we to infer from this? are the ticks done so often they are real habits now? or are they things players do to throw their opponent off their rythm? i know this is only one case but for someone who is always on the brink of a time violation for all his idiosyncratic bs between points to go through 2 sets without using them is kinda suspect.

but hey that's just me.

Posted by GSte 07/23/2007 at 06:39 PM

Beth, great job on both reports. I like reading different points of view, especially on tennis-related topics. I agree with your analysis of the Blake/Stepanek match. With the way Stepanek played, I'm surprised this was only his second title. Thanks for the insight on the USC/UCLA comparison, as I'm from the east coast so I know little about either college. LOL about Pam Shriver and the boots. She is "a little out there"!

Posted by Kenneth 07/23/2007 at 06:53 PM

Great chops, Beth, even if Pete gave it a little juice. Fine writing.

Anyone could have guessed that after the injury time-out by Stepanek, James was going to drop serve, not only because it seemed that the timout was done simply for that purpose, but also because James has a really hard time keeping his concentration together. And it all has to do with that attitude of his. Although I'm usually all for players expressing emotion on court, I think James would do well do portray a more stoic indifference during his matches. For one, he is waaayy to quick to encourage other players with his "Too good!" announcements after a winning shot. For two, concentrating on not getting down on himself would really up his overall focus level. Both of those antics, while genuine, tend to give his opponents more energy and positive feelings than they ever could generate in himself. No reason to give your opponent anymore fire than they already have...

Posted by Diane 07/23/2007 at 07:29 PM

"Radek took an injury time-out, but then celebrated at the end by jumping around like he was injury-free. The crowd seemed clueless, but to me, that was a turn-off."

Having a hamstring injury does not in any way prohibit someone from jumping up and down. Also, one assumes that the trainer did a good job because Radek was able to go on after treatment.

Radek was superb. I love his game (it is a lot like Martina's). And everyone knows how easy it is to get into James Blake's head.

Posted by french open fanatic 07/23/2007 at 08:17 PM

Beth- Thank you so much for the invite! And I didn't realize you were taking such diligent notes on the match. In your head nonetheless!
Crazy busy at work - which is why I had to leave right after lunch(albeit I was sweltering and looking forward to some air-conditioning). But, all in all quite an enjoyable day.
Thank you again! Look forward to more LA gatherings.
Vamos Rafa!

Posted by Rosangel 07/24/2007 at 07:18 AM

highpockets: there is no RNKAS rule preventing James from wearing piratas. On the contrary, RNKAS members are encouraged to wear piratas to meetings, although it is not mandatory.

That said, I think James should go back to wearing black shorts, or some other style more suited to his muscular build. The thing about piratas is that they don't minimise, rather they drape closely and emphasize, and in Rafa's case, that's just fine.
http://homepage.mac.com/rosangel/Rafa%20pics%202%20Jun%202007/large-17.html


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