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Serious Entertainment 12/08/2007 - 2:55 PM


Aternoon. In fact, it's evening in London. I'm again writing today's update from the media room in the Albert Hall. Sorry that this post is getting to you later than usual - it's the "typepad ate my homework" story. When your internet connection on a laptop crashes and you lose an entire post that you thought had been saved, which has just happened to me, there's nothing that you can do except start again. There seem to be a few less journalists around the place today, perhaps because it's the weekend, so fewer people were around to overhear my unrepeatable mutterings after this happened.

Hopes of a local winner are now ended. In the early evening session last night, the wily Guy Forget took out Greg Rusedski, eight years his junior. I haven't had the chance to upload all of my pictures from yesterday yet (plenty from the match between John McEnroe and Paul Haarhuis, which I'll sort later today). Here is the link, however, to some of the pictures from the evening singles sessions, including the Rusedski-Forget encounter.

Looking through the images, it's even clearer than it was at the time (look at his complexion, and how he was sweating) that Rusedski wasn't at his fittest. Sometimes he was puffing heavily. After all, he wasn't brought on board until the late withdrawal of Goran Ivanisevic, so wouldn't have been in training beforehand. I know that Forget had been preparing well for this tournament, because we discussed it. He said, rather self-deprecatingly, that he hoped that he'd be able to last the week. Having now reached the final, he'll have to.

The Rusedski-Forget match started with Greg rolling to take the first set 6-2. But he wasn't the only big server on court last night - Forget hit some rockets of his own, and was also able to hit his elegant groundstrokes deep and use his volleys to good effect. He managed to squeeze out the second set by breaking Rusedski to take it, 7-5. Then, after saving two match points, he won the Champions tiebreak 13-11. It really was a match that could have gone either way and was played at a pretty good level - it certainly wasn't all about serving.

Rusedski wasn't the only one with supporters in the crowd - there were some people yelling "Allez Guy!" I'm not sure whether the fans were French themselves, or if they thought, as many tennis fans seem to do, that their exhortations would have more potency if expressed in the player's own language.

The two players, while clearly taking the outcome seriously, also took the time to banter with each other and the crowd. One of my early pictures shows them approaching each other at the net for one of these little conversations. Rusedski behaves quite naturally with the crowd - he's able to show a more relaxed side of himself than we saw on the ATP tour. And, as his recent experience of commentating has already shown, he's able to talk well. I think he is able to show more natural warmth out there (as an "entertainer") than our other recently-retired local hero, Tim Henman. Though it doesn't matter much - but Tim looked very focused when he was playing Stefan Edberg earlier in the week - he didn't relax until after the match was over.

I couldn't help thinking, yet again, how much Guy Forget reminds me of a dancer, when he flings out his right arm to balance himself as he plays his groundstrokes, and then rises up, as though on his tip-toes, as he follows through on his backhand. The neat-looking shoes that he's been wearing this week only add to the balletic impression. He's moving really well, and should pose a serious threat to whoever he plays in the final. That will be decided tonight, when Sergi Bruguera plays Paul Haarhuis in the second semifinal. After his win today over Cedric Pioline (and probably an extensive massage session), Forget also took the time to answer some questions for TennisWorld - I'll save the answers until after the current week is over.

Sergi Bruguera ended the other local hope last night when he took on the "forgotten Englishman," Jeremy Bates. Bates, who I believe is now a club-level coach, was once the British No. 1 (world No. 54) and also John Lloyd's predecessor as Davis Cup captain. Though once the national poster boy at Wimbledon, his place in local affections has been eclipsed in recent years by the exploits of Tim and Greg, and now Andy Murray and his brother Jamie.

Earlier in the week, he played well enough to win his group, beating Henri Leconte and Wayne Ferreira in the process. But Sergi Bruguera was one step too far - he looked as though he could keep running all night, and Bates was having trouble receiving some vicious serves, and some of Bruguera's spins. Bates was broken in his first service game, which must have lasted about 15 minutes, and after that Bruguera had no difficulty holding to take the set 6-4. The second was a similar story. Bates didn't play badly - but Bruguera keeps extremely sharp and fit these days, having won seven titles on the Tour this year.

I'll sign off for now. I have a little free time before the next match starts, and just might wander around with a camera. And then, I'll go and sit courtside this evening for my pictures. It looks a bit different out there than it did earlier in the week - the TV cameras are now out there, as the business end of the tournament is being televised by the BBC. However, I've taken some better pictures down there in the second part of the week, so I must be learning something.

-- Rosangel

[Update - the pictures from the Haarhuis-McEnroe match have now been uploaded, and you can find them here. More facial expressions from McEnroe - and he acknowledges the crowd nicely at the end.]

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Posted by Fedexfan 12/08/2007 at 03:03 PM


Posted by Fedexfan 12/08/2007 at 03:08 PM

Is there any site I can catch some actions of this tournament?

Posted by Sam 12/08/2007 at 03:18 PM

Ros: Love picture #9, of Forget after hitting a backhand. Always enjoyed watching him play.

Posted by codepoke 12/08/2007 at 03:19 PM

Fun stuff again. :-)

So, forgive my non-tennis watching ignorance. Forget is French, and I never know which letters not to pronounce in French, so how does one pronounce his name? I only know it can't possibly be "like it looks."

Posted by codepoke 12/08/2007 at 03:20 PM

Sigh. Deeper sigh.

Do we have to do the comment verification? Webmasters? Please make it go away. Please?

Posted by jbradhunter 12/08/2007 at 03:58 PM

codepoke- please see other thread for my reply/rant :)

and, I believe it's pronounced like : "for" the number 4 then the "get" begins with the "g" which is a j-buzz like Zsa Zsa Gabor's name- in a sense the "Zs" sound :) and the "et" is like saying the letter "A" out loud

and his 1st name is a hard "g" like google ending in the "ee" sound from the word bee

Posted by creig bryan 12/08/2007 at 05:34 PM

Rosangel: Very nice shots of Forget and Rusedski, #4 and #16 in particular. Sorry about your lost homework--it's never the same way the second time. Excellent writing--when do you sleep?


Keep Smiling

Posted by Ali C 12/08/2007 at 05:40 PM

Thanks for the report Ros - the second time around. =)

And it's funny, 'cause we do plenty of typing/exhorting/cheering on the board in various languages, what with the "adje!" and "davai!" Not to mention that Justine and her Brigade OWN the word "Allez." (So I hope Guy's fans got permission...)

Off topic a bit, but I do hope they keep/enlarge the doubles competition on the senior tour. I went to the London Black Rock for an evening a couple of years ago, and while Mac was great and Haarhuis played some amazing tennis, I loved seeing how much fun the doubles teams had. It was probably the most entertaining part of the evening, to be honest. Though seeing a McEnroe rant live for the first time was also quite amusing.

Posted by Ro'ee 12/08/2007 at 05:43 PM

Most important thing you can learn from angel's picture - Guy isn't using that funky 8-shaped racquet anymore.

Posted by fastbowler 12/08/2007 at 06:44 PM

I know how "losing" a story like that feels, Ros! And on a deadline! You really want to pull your hair out…

But you pulled through and gave us another awesome report. Thanks for putting in the legwork this week to give us updates and fabulous pictures.

Wow, two tall, left-handed strong servers putting on a full-on match. That must have extra fascinating! Guy was graceful mover back in his tour days, and I was pleased to discover he hasn't missed a step (so to speak).

I always felt Greg was underrated—not on his tennis skills, but I always felt he was a player with "personality," and that aspect never did get much attention amidst the Agassi-Sampras days.

I look forward to the interviews! =>

Posted by Rosangel 12/08/2007 at 07:16 PM

Creig: I'm now at home after the evening session. It's just after midnight. I'll sort my photos tonight, including the pictures of Haarhuis and J-Mac from Thursday, and finish the actual post tomorrow - this time, I hope to do it before I leave home, as Sunday has a later start.

Next week, there will be time for sleep:)

But don't worry - I'm having a great time, and adrenaline is keeping me going here. As are the comments - it's good to know that the reports are being read. It helps a lot that in my "real job" I'm used to writing to publication deadlines some of the time. The main difference is that taking photos never comes into it:)

Posted by jhurwi 12/08/2007 at 08:30 PM

Remember all the jokes this summer about how John Isner (6'9") and Ivo Karlovic (6'10") should form the world's tallest doubles team? Apparently they are actually going to do so at the Australian Open, where their combined doubles ranking is good enough to assure direct entry even if Isner doesn't make the cut in singles.
The story is in an interview with Isner in a local paper in North Carolina, which is excerpted in Court Coverage: The author of the article is pretty sure their opponents will not attempt many lobs!

Posted by Rosangel 12/08/2007 at 08:37 PM

Quick note - the link for the Mac-Haarhuis match pics has now been added at the bottom of the main post.

Posted by fastbowler 12/08/2007 at 10:01 PM

"It helps a lot that in my 'real job' I'm used to writing to publication deadlines some of the time."

EXACTLY, Ros! => You can get used to it, but it's still not the most fun way to produce your work.

Posted by codepoke 12/08/2007 at 10:34 PM

Hmmm. Extra sympathy for Rosia. I just lost a post and got to rewrite it from scratch, too.

Something must be catching.

Posted by Rosangel 12/08/2007 at 10:36 PM

fastbowler: funnily enough, I've always enjoyed taking exams. There's something about being under pressure to produce - often it really clarifies what matters and what doesn't. I often do my best work under pressure, because it forces me to cut out every distraction and concentrate - a state which can be quite satisfying to be in as long as you know what you need to do. Losing work already done due to external factors outside my control - that's frustrating. Writing to deadlines is fine as long as the deadlines don't change on me.

Posted by RedClaw 12/09/2007 at 01:49 AM

Hey Ros, thank you again for another excellent report.
You really do write wonderfully!

Hey codepoke, jbrad,
I'm an actual "francophone" and I'd say j did the best job I can think of getting both the "Guy" and the "Forget" down in English. :)

Isner-Karlovic at the Aussie Open. Heh. :X
I wonder how they'll do...

Posted by fastbowler 12/09/2007 at 06:21 AM

Hee, Ros—you speak the truth! Sometimes living dangerously… lets you produce your best work. I wonder if that applies to tennis too… =>

Isner/Karlovic versus Clement/Santoro… who wins? And remember: no wagering! =>

Posted by Laura 12/09/2007 at 06:26 AM

I'm interested to know: Is the tournament a sell-out, or are there empty seats? And is it attracting a varied age-range?

Posted by Sam 12/09/2007 at 11:06 AM

Ros: I'm always impressed by those who thrive under pressure, whether it be in sports or other endeavors. Probably because I'm not one who generally does well in those situations. ;-)

Also, just saw the updated Mac pix (you posted the link on another thread) - great job!

Posted by zonie 12/09/2007 at 11:14 AM

Wonderful post. I'm sorry to hear that you lost your first one. As a serial procrastinator, I usually am able to work under deadline pressures, but I have to say that it usually does not turn out to be my best work.

Luckily, my job does not entail meeeting publishing deadlines, it is usually schoolwork that keeps me burning the midnight oil.

I agree that there should be age categories on the senior tour, but maybe it would be harder to get enought talent in one age group.

Posted by jbradhunter 12/09/2007 at 11:16 AM

Sam- I would imagine that you are being modest- I'm sure you perform very well under pressure

Posted by ms. tangerine popsicle (tangi) 12/09/2007 at 11:20 AM


I suspect you must have pressure-filled moments at your job and I bet you do just fine. :-) When it comes to writing on deadline, it's almost part of the fun. The challenge is part of the appeal.

Will you be commenting on any games on The Deuce Club today? Brett is in the lineup, BTW. :)

Posted by marieJ 12/09/2007 at 11:37 AM

hi rosangel, really nice job ;)

i see you're having a great time and i hope we can hear a little bit more from behind the scenes... when you have a good rest, well deserved of course !
i can't imagine doing something similar specially with deadlines... i'll panic, for sure, i hate to do something under pressure, writing in particular... i need to take my time to read back several times to see if my work satisfies me enough, i'm probably too hard on myself since i allways find i could have said something better... in english i don't have the same problem, the fact that my knowledge of the language is more limited, i have less options to think about... just like some tennis players ;) but i make special efforts to write as correctly as possible... sometimes my typos are more than typos !

many of us are on TW vacation when you look at the number of posts... but it's nice to get some new people delurk thanks to your posts on the black rock masters, it's funny to hear how many of them try to spot you in action with your camera ;) glory and fame for rosangel ? a little bit, no ?

what amazes me the most it's how seriously those "old guys" are competing when they have nothing to prove anymore, if it's not too late to ask, i would like to know what's the motivation to be participating in this tour ?? tennis is still about passion to compete ?

and the second thing i had been laughing about : it's johnny mac impersonatng himself to keep the legend alive... it's terribly funny and i don't think he needs to push himself a lot to do it... your photos of him are spot on ; the picture 34 of your last update is priceless ! he truly lives the emotion of competing, fighting, losing or winning... if i were to go back in the mac/borg era, jmac would have been my guy ;)

Posted by Novela Nadalesca/Celia(we have power again!!!) 12/09/2007 at 11:44 AM

Hey guys! sorry for not posting last night, but at around 7:00pm last night, we lost power at my house and my neighborhood. It got soooooo cold too, because of course we didn't have heat for over 14 hours. And it's kind of funny, because my mom and I went to Dunkin' Donuts, because she wanted to have coffee, and we couldn't make coffee becasue of the power being out, so she bought the big box of coffee that serves 10 small cups of coffee(which was $13) and the minute she walks in the door(and I do mean the exact minute) the power turns on! So she didn't have to buy all of that coffee and just wasted $13. She said that it's kind of weird and I agree with her on that point.*sips caramel swirl latte*

Posted by Sam 12/09/2007 at 11:57 AM

Thanks jbrad, tangi. :-) I sometimes perform well under pressure, but wouldn't call myself a clutch performer. I could probably write a book on all my on-court choking moments ... But I did meet a recent deadline at work with time to spare. *pats self on back*

tangi: I'll probably be commenting on Eagles-Giants & Steelers-Patriots on The Deuce Club today (those are the games being shown in my area). Not suprised that Favre is in the lineup - I would only have been surprised if he wasn't.

Celia: Sorry about the power outage - sucks to have that when it's cold out - but glad it didn't last long. One time when I was still living with my parents, the power went out on a cold January day. We spent the day at the mall, then stayed over a friend's house overnight.

Posted by Novela Nadalesca/Celia(we have power again!!!) 12/09/2007 at 12:05 PM

Sam-Thanks. I slept on the couch all night with the warmest blanket I could find. It was actually kind of cozy because we had a fire in the fireplace and lit a bunch of candles. It's just when I got up that it was cold because the floor was so cold that it numbed my toes and I immediately got under the blanket again. I was just mad because I was going to do my homework from around eight until whenever last night, but all I could do was read some of the book we're reading for English, because our flaslight had a low battery. Then today I'm going to be gone from 3 until around 8 or 9, then I'm going to eat then go to bed, but it's a good thing I got my main homework done. The other homework was just to get ahead of the rest of my class, and I don't need to have it done until sometime next week.

Posted by marieJ 12/09/2007 at 12:21 PM

novela, black outs are revealing how much we rely on electricity... tks god it hasn't happen to me in a very long time, in my house...
but once, it was at my office in the airport, we were suppose to have a 30mn swich off and then connect the building on electric supply... guess what ? nothing worked, everything went down and even the phone would not work, we were blind and deaf (i need to see where are going the planes on multiple screens and phoe is essential)... we had 2 candles for a 3h electricity cut, brought by one of the girls, i remember how much fun we made at her, until she was right about it ! just in case we have a couple of candles and a lighter at the office, just in case !

Posted by jbradhunter 12/09/2007 at 12:47 PM

I sorta liked power outtages - when I was a boy (heehee cuz I still am in many ways!) and my family was living in Mobile- we went thru a few hurricanes, really heavy thunderstorms, tornados, etc... and the power would always go out- me and my brother and sister would build blanket/pillow forts and get huge flashlights and we'd all just play play play- okay, if I wet thru one now, I'd be seriously perturbed about no hot water for the shower and no coffee, and of course no TW

Posted by tina 12/09/2007 at 12:54 PM

Over the summer, I spent about two months living in a tent on a Dalmatian island. We had fires for two days in July, and the secong one was much worse because the country had rented one fire plane to Macedonia, and two others were busy in Dubrovnik. The fire was kept from the nearest village to me, but the power was out on the whole island. But I was already living with battery-operated lanterns, a solar shower, etc. - and in the end, I was the one getting news reports from Split on my wind-up radio, and bringing the news into the village. When I first decided to live in the tent, I think they thought I was crazy, but then I was the only person properly prepared to live without electricity. When I broke down the camp, I gave my non-electric stuff to my favorite restaurant which we was hit hard when it had no power. Candles look pretty, but it wasn't enough light to read menus. Can't solve their refrigeration problems, but I didn't have to pay for a meal the last week I was on the island.

Posted by CL 12/09/2007 at 01:29 PM

tina - very cool story. Enjoyment can definitely hinge on prepration. What always fascinates me is something vey obvious - how utterly oblivious animals are to power outages. Well maybe dairy cows who depend on milking machines, but otherwise, their world goes on as per usual, while we fuss and flail about.

And now for something completely different - BINGO! I finally figured it out - I knew the bad guy in "Heroes" reminded me of someone - Greg Rusedski, meet Sylar!!! lol.

Posted by Novela Nadalesca/Celia(we have power again!!!) 12/09/2007 at 01:33 PM

Well, I have to say that power outages for some reason are pretty common around here. But they usually only happen in the summer(right when we are going through a heat wave usually, which is not fun). We usually get about one per year. This one makes it two for this year, and it's been awhile since we had one during the winter months.

Posted by Novela Nadalesca/Celia(we have power again!!!) 12/09/2007 at 01:36 PM

CL, well my dogs are spoiled because they were soooo cold that they even went under the blankets! My cat didn't seem to mind it, though, but then again his fur is thicker and he has more of it.

Posted by tina 12/09/2007 at 01:59 PM

Well, much as I would love to talk about places that have power outages due to heat waves - right now I'm cold and wearing a ski hat indoors - I just gotta say that the photos this week have been a lot of fun. I never would've recognized Haarhuis - but those Guy Forget groundies, I'd know in a second! Are they ever going to bring this event to MSG, former home of the Masters and the Virginia Slims?

Posted by Novela Nadalesca/Celia(we have power again!!!) 12/09/2007 at 02:09 PM

I gotta go. I probably won't post until next weekend or the weekend after that. Bye guys!

Posted by marieJ 12/09/2007 at 02:33 PM

islands in the adriatic are my all time fave, tina !
which one where you camping ? mljet is the most beautifull i ever see... and i think you can go camping... i had one camping expierence in summer camp kids and i say "no mas" to mum and dad ! maybe i will let myself have anothe expierence with one of the dalmatian islands, who knows ;)

i've been checking about the final, and harruis won again...
too bad for guy !

Posted by Snoo Foo 12/09/2007 at 03:47 PM

ROSANGEL - maybe you can collaborate?

"hi. this site is devoted to my obsession with brieflines!"

to quote the inspiring, inimicable, but possibly-too-freaky-even-for-me chuck berry, this is a free country, live like you wanna live, baby!

and for good measure...

Feliz Cumpleaños Gato!!!


Posted by Snoo Foo 12/09/2007 at 03:52 PM

d-d-d-d-doh, meant inimitable, although i can imagine a valid argument in support of inimicable.

Posted by CL 12/09/2007 at 03:57 PM

SnooWebster - does 'inimicable' have to do with mici's tennis analysis? As in, "thinking thatg Fed can win the FO without extensive use of his slice backhand is an inimicable argument."?

Posted by codepoke 12/09/2007 at 04:06 PM

We've already topped out your site traffic limit, Snoo. :-(

Posted by Snoo Foo 12/09/2007 at 04:25 PM

Wow. I have no idea what the... traffic limit is, i hope it's no more than 5 or something cuz otherwise... that's just plain skeery.

Posted by PlanetVenus 12/09/2007 at 05:41 PM

Hey guys I saw Elena Dementieva today at the mall where I heave a part time job and I got to assist her in buying some baby clothes and she is absolutely stunning in person and extreme;y friendly

Posted by Pierre 12/09/2007 at 06:08 PM

Elena Dementieva is expecting a baby? Wow, this blog is amazing, the things you learn here.

Posted by PlanetVenus 12/09/2007 at 06:16 PM

I don't know if she's expecting cause there most certainly wasnt a baby bump I just thought it was interesting. Dementieva has been seen all over Buffalo and most people have no idea who she is but after having a chance to talk to her she is very charming...... I wanted to ask for her autograph but it seemed inappropriate being that she seemed as if she was enjoying her anonymonity but after having seen her in person I have no idea how she can't serve rockets because she is just so tall and more than capable

Posted by Snoo Foo 12/09/2007 at 07:05 PM

Programming Note: TC is showing the 1982 women's AO final (little chrissy evert vs. the original martina, on grass) & later they're gonna show pete s. vs. jim c. 1995 final.

Posted by jb 12/09/2007 at 08:18 PM

lol snoo - figures you'd be watching this too! i've been watching - never having seen it the first time around. of particuar interest to me is the pattern of wear on the grass courts, and the fact that both women are playing quite a bit from the baseline.

lovely play though, am actually pretty much lovein' it.

snoo - is that brieflines site yours? cause i think we maxed it out...

Posted by Snoo Foo 12/09/2007 at 09:03 PM

Hecky bell no it's not my site! vbls are a little too niche for me. although there are some pix of lllooooooodraaaaaaaahhh in his... I'm not even sure what the name is... well, French cut bikincito I guess. Which maybe I didn't totally need to see.

Yeah my cable went out for like an hour after I noticed this match was on so it was kind of like... oh hello, now chrissy is serving for it. What's weirdest to me is that (a) it's the MARLBORO Australian Open, and (b) chrissy beat her with a wooden racket.

Tab Cola for beautiful people!

Posted by jbradhunter 12/09/2007 at 11:37 PM

dementieva is just as cute as she can be-- and she pulverizes her groundstrokes like nobody's business

love her!

Posted by Schwab 12/10/2007 at 08:35 AM

Planet Venus and Pierre,
Could Elena be buying baby clothes for a relative instead of herself? So, Elena is spending time in Buffalo with her hockey boyfriend(forgot his name) under the radar which is good for her. Elena needs to find a way to get to the second week of the AO. Seems like she can not start a season off well early.

Posted by Christine 12/10/2007 at 12:39 PM

Nice website Snoo (it's yours right?)-you definitly enjoy the "rear view" :) Glad to hear Dementieva is doing well.

Posted by Snoo Foo 12/10/2007 at 01:16 PM

not my site, if I had a site devoted to atp bodyparts, it would be teeth, or laigs, or dirty chignons, but not vbls, that's rosangel's department. and MY site would have a much more significant mariano zabaleta presence.

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