Peter Bodo's TennisWorld - Hangover
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Hangover 03/23/2008 - 11:28 PM

Phptxhurtpm

If you've watched enough tennis,  you know that all other things being equal , style is destiny.

Of course, all other things are not always equal, which is how Rafael Nadal came to be the defending champion at the Pacific Life Open this year. Courage, fitness, determination, self-control, emotions, mental strength, even old-fashioned luck almost always have a hand in shaping events. Tennis has its very own set of Murphy's Laws: players heads explode and leave a haze of acrid smelling cerebellum hovering over the court; emotions infect the muscle memory in the arm like a really bad computer virus and cause gimme forehand winners to go whistling into the fence, instead of that seemingly vast expanse of open court begging to be partially filled with a winning placement.

What a crap shoot the game can be.

Today, though, it was different here at the Indian Wells Tennis Sauna. Ana Ivanovic and her Serbian countryman presented a stirring defense of Platonic reality, although each of them flirted with the dirtier version. Ivanovic opened the door to let Svetlana Kuznetsova back into the match, but thought better of the idea and slammed it shut again. And Djokovic briefly forgot the grand design and let Mardy Fish finger paint all over it before he remembered that he is presently the best hard court player on the planet.

It became apparent soon after the women's final got underway that the ever-enthusiastic Serbs who staked out a few rows up at the upper lip of the stadium could prove problematic. They waved Serbian flags and banners and kept up a running, disorganized chant that sounded like a weird malapropism for "suburbia":  Surbia, Surbia, Surbia. By game three, even fans pre-disposed to tolerance were thinking, Okay, Slobodan, cool it already! and wondering what these dudes would do should Ana happen to lose -  run out and torch a Denny's?

Occasionally, one of the partisans would cry out just as Kuznetsova was about to hit a second serve. It wasn't bad bad, just annoying bad (sort of like Sunday brunch for 50 afflicted by Tourette's Syndrome) and stupid bad. In her victory speech, Ivanovic apologized to the crowd for the boorishness of her fans, and Kuznetsova greeted a press conference question on the subject with a decidedly frosty: "I don't make any comments, okay? I'm not even thinking about going to that level."

It wasn't like Serbian shock troops paid Queen Ana much mind, either. When they gave Fish the same treatment, Djokovic invited Fish to serve again. The Serbs flip around the familiar rap on the United Kingdom: great fans, stink-o players.

But then, Ivanovic  also explained that many of these fans are coming to the sport for the first time, from the bottom of the NBA and soccer ponds. They're used to shouting Surbia! any danged time they please. Maybe they should have to answer a pop quiz on tennis etiquette before they get their ducats next time.

Apart from that irritant, the match was a pretty good if not overly dramatic advertisement for women's tennis. Ivanovic plays a fetching all-court game, a clean game. She hits with good length, and a conspicuous determination to either find or exploit any inviting hole on the other side of the court. You can win tennis matches by hammering away at the weakness of an opponent, by winning the battle for turf, or both (in which case, the word "blowout" enters the lexicon).

Ana Either way is effective, but the latter produces an elevated and appealing type of tennis. Instead of groaning and fiddling around with your Blackberry as some poor turnip shanks backhand after backhand, you appreciate the way the superior player picks her spots, sets up her placements, and executes winning shots rather than feeding her opponent's self-destructive tendencies.

E.G.: at 4-4 in the first set with Kuznetsova serving, break-point down, Ivanovic saw a short-ball opportunity and jumped on it, cracking a crosscourt forehand winner. She crisply served out the set.

My margin note: The similarities between Ivanovic and Djokovic are so strong that they could be siblings, developed by the same mad tennis genius in some small village in Surbia!. Of course, we all know how far removed that is from the truth.

In the second set, Ivanovic teased a crosscourt backhand unforced error out of Kuzzie, to go up 2-1. But Kuznetsova broke back at 15, and when Kizzie held for 3-2 it looked like destiny might be thwarted.  But Ivanovic gathered her resolve while Kuzzie lost hers. Ivanovic held, and then scored the decisive break for a 4-3 lead - with serve.

This was not an unusual string of events for Kuznetsova, who is of the burning cerebellum school. Her form can fluctuate for any reason, or, it seems, just for the hail of it. My own theory is that at select times while she's running around on the court, her mind drifts away to other things, like, Did I remember to turn off the burner on stove before I left the house?  Do Fish sleep? Who are these people?  She needs to get errors out of her system as if they were building up like lactic acid, and then she returns to the business at hand, which by then has become digging herself out of a big, big hole.

She surrender the momentum, quickly and painlessly, and knew it: "There, I lost it (in that seventh game), made a little mistake. I gave it a little bit to her, because I felt like I had pressure on me all the time. She wasn't giving me any free points and she was attacking. It was, like, you feel like it's her day, like it goes everything her way."

Ahem. Sveta. You're supposed to feel "pressure." It comes with keeping score!

At least it was an honest confession, and an interesting one.But the second part is more valuable for our purposes. Any time you hear the word "attacking" applied to women's tennis you know that someone is doing something right. I asked Ivanovic what parts of her game she was most pleased with, and she said: "I was most happy about my aggressiveness, so I was staying low and following the shots and taking my opportunities, knowing when she would hit the short ball, I would try to attack and take time away from her. I was serving really well. I had quite a few aces (5) and that was important."

The open secret of the women's game is that holding serve is too often an even more daunting task than breaking. To me, the magic number is 6: Show me a women's match with fewer breaks and now you're talking about a proper tennis match, rather than a food fight with yellow cotton candy. In this one, there were five - but Ivanovic was broken just once. She  posted a first-serve percentage of 70 and saved 2 of the only 3 break points she faced. Kuzzie, by contrast, saved just 3 of 7. It was a superb hard-court performance by a stylish stylist.

The serve was no less important in Djokovic's march to the title; unfortunately, it was in a negative sense, when it came to Fish. He had 6 aces, just one more than Ivanovic, so you could say it was too bad he wasn't playing her, instead of Djokovic, who walloped 10. Fish had an anemic first-serve percentage of 40, while Djokovic garnered a 63. But three of them were the straw that broke the Fish's back.

In keeping with the vaguely fated, almost surreal air that surrounded Fish for most of these past two weeks, the surprise finalist found a way to avert a buzz-killing blowout when he rallied from a 2-6, 2-4 deficit to snatch away the second set. In the first game of the final set, Djokovic looked rattled and disorganized as he fell behind love-40 on serve. But he flung aside his baseball cap, stepped up to the line, and hammered out three aces to get back into the game. Surbia!  Djokovic held, and it took the air out of Fish's swim bladder. He surrendered his next service game and soon found himself down 0-3. He never threatened after that.

Fish admitted afterwards that he had a hangover of sorts. He said he came into the match "subdued" because what he had accomplished in reaching the final finally hit him last night. In other words, it dawned on him: Holy Cannole, I beat Roger friggin' Federer today! The epiphany came at an inconvenient time - 4 AM, by Fish's reckoning, and he did what any red-blooded American boy would do when faced with a similarly unnerving realization: He flipped on ESPN to check on the scores and highlights of yesterday's March Madness action. "I couldn't go back to sleep, you know, kind of realizing what I was about to embark on, and what I was about to do - try to win this tournament."

Fish handled the pressure of the final well, given that he was playing the Australian Open champion and the ultimate example of the style is destiny trope. It was almost emblematic when Djokovic's sporting gesture - giving Fish a do-over first serve, because of the distraction caused by an overzealous fan of Surbia! - backfired. As Fish told it: "Novak was nice enough to give me another first serve, which I made. And then he ripped back at my feet, so I was actually - probably would have been better with a second serve. . . But no, no, no, it (the white noise) wasn't bad."

It was a great day for Serbian tennis, and a great day for just rewards. We learned a lot, including that Fish don't sleep. Somebody tell Sveta.


173
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Posted by Heidi 03/23/2008 at 11:38 PM

Hey Pete! Thanks for the post. Looks like the theme of it is white noise -- the noise inside a player's head! Interesting self-analysis from Kuznetsova. And good for Fish taking a set. All in all, a very interesting tournament. ON to Miami!

Posted by Tennis Fan 03/23/2008 at 11:47 PM

"the match was a pretty good if not overly dramatic advertisement for women's tennis."

Yeah!

Posted by Jenn 03/23/2008 at 11:50 PM

Thanks for your coverage, Pete. Great, as always. "Tennis has its very own set of Murphy's Laws: players heads explode and leave a haze of acrid smelling cerebellum hovering over the court; emotions infect the muscle memory in the arm like a really bad computer virus and cause gimme forehand winners to go whistling into the fence, instead of that seemingly vast expanse of open court begging to be partially filled with a winning placement." Such an apt description. You can just see where the "white noise" on its own can completely break down a player's game. Djokovic already seems to be immune to that problem - SCARY!

Posted by Lucy 03/23/2008 at 11:50 PM

hey pete,

am glad someone decided to write about the serbian fans, after all. i was there at the stadium and it was absolutely appalling. i also found this quite ironic given that the djoker''s family was having a hissy fit at the aussie open when tsonga supporters were getting slightly over-zealous behind them. fortunately, ana i. appears to handle it with more grace than her compatriot novak. have to say though that the men's final was an utter bore. it was fairly clear that the djoker would prevail and his dramatics at missing shots were over the top as well. can someone tell him to tone down on the historionics already?? one question though: any scoop of fed's condition or lack thereof? i mean the man was so listless on court that even some of us recreational players would have given him a run for his money. as a huge fed fan (revealing my hand here), want to know if you have any insight on this. i know athletes never ever reveal the true extent of their condition ( i think your colleague tignor said that), so wassup????

Posted by crazyone 03/23/2008 at 11:51 PM

That's a great photograph...it illustrates what I find very unnerving about Novak's service motion--I always feel he's overextending his abdominal muscles. John McEnroe called it the best service motion in the game, and yes, he gets great disguise on his serve but I find Federer's motion to be smoother and more fluid, with great disguise as well.

Posted by Erik 03/23/2008 at 11:59 PM

Thanks for the great analysis. Hopefully Sveta will learn to attack more often. I couldn't understand why she played so far behind the baseline. What was she waiting for? Pizza Delivery?

I sat underneath the "Go Serbia" crew and it was annoying at times, but that behavior would be acceptable at any other sporting event. The Fish/Djokovic match felt at times like half Davis Cup/Half U.S. Open which I liked. The rowdy Serbs will fit right in at Flushing this fall.

Posted by Papo 03/24/2008 at 12:03 AM

What can you say when a guy down 0-40 serves up three aces? Because "Too good" doesn't seem sufficient. Yauza!!!

Posted by topboy 03/24/2008 at 12:45 AM

"They waved Serbian flags and banners and kept up a running, disorganized chant that sounded like a weird malapropism for "suburbia": Surbia, Surbia, Surbia. By game three, even fans pre-disposed to tolerance were thinking, Okay, Slobodan, cool it already! and wondering what these dudes would do should Ana happen to lose - run out and torch a Denny's?"

Racist much, Pete? Not all of us are Slobodans. And I'll be the first to condemn the football-like fans, but your condescending tone makes it even sweeter that Serbs were the victors today. At least Denny's is safe for now, while american government is illegally tearing my country apart while supporting a quiet genocide of Kosovo Serbs!

Posted by topboy 03/24/2008 at 12:46 AM

Oh and btw, it's SRRR-BEEE-YAAA!

Posted by SND 03/24/2008 at 12:56 AM

Whoaaa nice article pete!!!SURBIYEAH rocks!

Posted by ixvnyc 03/24/2008 at 01:14 AM

as a serbian fan, i have to say this about serbian fans:

i understand these people, but i cannot excuse them.

i understand them, not just because they don't have the experience
in rooting at the tennis matches, but also because serbia has suffered so much national humiliation on the world stage in the recent years, perhaps like no other country. you tell me:
which other country in the world had a part of it's teritory, culture and heritage taken away? which other country was bombed into submission?

so this is not just an issue of a transition from soccer to tennis, this is also an issue of dropping guns and picking up tennis racquets. it's a great and positive thing in general, but it may weigh a bit heavy on tennis to shoulder that burden.

now having said that, i cannot excuse or approve of this behavior.
for one thing, it really doesn't help our players at all, and even more importantly, does not help the cause they contribute to:
changing the image of serbia as a nation of misguided losers.

i am sure however, that serbian fans will take note of what ana and novak said and did about this. for one thing ana and novak understand the issues, and they will make sure this part of the game is taken care of like everything else, and for another thing serbian fans look upon them as gods, and they will listen to them.

i think it's really amazing how much ana, novak and jelena are capable of doing for both serbia and tennis, and i think they will do really good for both.

Posted by another serb lol 03/24/2008 at 01:19 AM

hey topboy, Pete's comments are correct. i am a serb but i do not approve such behaviour. ana is right when she says that these people have never been attending tennis matches before.
but, i also believe that as our serbian players continue to win tournaments and the (serbian) fans keep coming to see them, they will eventually cultivate themselves.

ps
Pete, i love reading your comments altough you suck at predicting the winners (like the women's semifinals). :D

Posted by PM 03/24/2008 at 01:28 AM

It's one thing to criticize the behavior of the fans, which was certainly unacceptable. It was distracting to the opponent and to other fans. And Ana is right that it is partly stemming from football culture. It's another thing to make condescending and tired insinuations about a particular ethnic group that have been done and re-done for the past 17 years. What irks me is that nobody would ever dream of making insinuations on this website about black people based on Serena's and Venus' *or their fans'* behavior, or Israel/Jewish people based on Shahar Peer's *or her fans'* behavior, etc. But somehow there's this one group of people where ugly comments of this nature (Slobodan? Denny's?) are acceptable. We've seen it before and we'll see it again. I hope the fans change their behavior, but definitely the response here has been less than exemplary - it's actually worse than the behavior referred to.

Posted by ixvnyc 03/24/2008 at 01:32 AM

yeah, i agree that pete should have been a bit more sensitive to the casual use of 'slobodan' and 'torching' here.

Posted by topboy 03/24/2008 at 01:42 AM

Again PM - you've nailed the point! It's as if you're an extension of me!

And to other Serbs on the forum (ixvnyc, another serb lol), you will notice that I didn't excuse the fans' behaviour, but rather commented on the author's description and generalization of an entire people based on force-fed propaganda over the last 20 years (give or take a few).

Posted by Fan 03/24/2008 at 01:50 AM

Someone put this link on RST. I did not read it because I stopped reading your sensational junk a long time ago. Are they paying you for this?
Regards,
Fan

Posted by EXXco_08 03/24/2008 at 02:06 AM

Posted by topboy 03/24/2008 @ 12:45 AM

"They waved Serbian flags and banners and kept up a running, disorganized chant that sounded like a weird malapropism for "suburbia": Surbia, Surbia, Surbia. By game three, even fans pre-disposed to tolerance were thinking, Okay, Slobodan, cool it already! and wondering what these dudes would do should Ana happen to lose - run out and torch a Denny's?"

Racist much, Pete? Not all of us are Slobodans. And I'll be the first to condemn the football-like fans, but your condescending tone makes it even sweeter that Serbs were the victors today. At least Denny's is safe for now, while american government is illegally tearing my country apart while supporting a quiet genocide of Kosovo Serbs!
_________________________________________

ISSUE #1:

Pete, I am not of the Serb nation, but I am signing the upper comment. You took the opportunity to crack on Serb fans (they are crowd, aren't they?), rather than pointing on the chair umpire and tournament supervisor not doing their jobs to deal with crowd's disobedience??? A comentator of your caliber doesn't make such mistakes by omission, Pete! So, your next post better be about your own behaviour on the TENNIS WORLD web site. Thank you in advance.

ISSUE#2:

You did bring politics in the sport by bringing Slobodan (Milosevic) in your tennis comment. Well, if you going that way, then you should in the same context mentioned NATO's insane 78 days and nights bombing of the Serbia not long ago. Just because the two (NATO and Milosevic) goes together.

ISSUE#3:

You appear to be Serbs specialist. This is based on more than a year statistics of your (tennis?) commentary. Well, keep in mind that so many top tennis players nawadays (Djokovic, Ivanovic, Jankovic, Zimonjic) are product of the Serbian nation. At least, Show some respect to that Nation, Pete.

ISSUE#4:

I'll give you good advice, Pete: Want to condemn any nation? Start with your own!

Posted by Pete 03/24/2008 at 02:12 AM

Some of you folks need to get a grip. The Serbian fans behaved like unsporting jerks at a tennis tournament.
Next, you need to get a sense of humor.
Lastly,your own player apologized, for gosh sakes, but if you want to shoot the messenger, fine with me. End of story.

Posted by ixvnyc 03/24/2008 at 02:18 AM

i think this whole little thing shows nicely how the begining, the middle, and the end of story should be tennis. we would all do better to leave everything else out.

i for one am tired of having this type of a discussion over the last 20 years or so.

Posted by Kath 03/24/2008 at 02:19 AM

The issue wasn't about calling out the serbian fans, the issue was YOUR "jokes". And I can't believe that you didn't expect any criticism after writing a piece like that, so perhaps you can come up with a better defense than "get a sense of humour"

Posted by topboy 03/24/2008 at 02:22 AM

"Some of you folks need to get a grip. The Serbian fans behaved like unsporting jerks at a tennis tournament.
Next, you need to get a sense of humor.
Lastly,your own player apologized, for gosh sakes, but if you want to shoot the messenger, fine with me. End of story."
-----------------------------------------------------------------

Again - we agree on the fan behaviour. That is not the issue. The issue is your choice of words. Your sense of humour escapes me on the eve of the 9th anniversary that my country was senslessly bombed for the WRONG reasons (which are becoming more evident as the years go by) and in time that my country is going through a very difficult period as its heart is being snatched by the bullies of the west.

Posted by topboy 03/24/2008 at 02:27 AM

Ixvnyc, no I will not leave it at tennis as it is the author of the piece who invited the response by writing chauvinistic comments about my people.

Posted by PM 03/24/2008 at 02:43 AM

Well, Mr. Bodo, the issue is that your "humor" stoops to an even lower level than the unsporting jerks at the tennis tournament. Those fans were cheering when inappropriate, they were loud, they waved the Serbian flag and a statement on Kosovo, and they were chanting the name of their country. They didn't say anything derogatory about anyone nor were they violent. Both Ana and Novak followed up on the behavior of these fans by saying something about it. You chose, however, to make ugly insinuations about Milosevic and the recent demonstrations about Kosovo's so-called independence somehow being in the same category as what these fans were doing. If you were to make such "jokes" about African-Americans vis-a-vis Serena Williams' behavior or that of her African-American fans (this is just hypothetical, I don't have anything in mind), you would likely be suspended from participating in tennis.com if not fired. However, *you* chose to dabble in politics by writing up this garbage article which is really insulting to *all Serbs* - not just those unruly fans.

Now, I know that Novak and Ana have been very reticent in their statements on these political issues in the pressers, but make no mistake - they feel very strongly about what is being done to their nation. They don't discuss it because people like you and many others will trash them in the articles and hound them in the pressers. They lived through NATO bombs 9 years ago and Djokovic's family is from Kosovo, and who knows under what circumstances they left the province in the early 1980s (perhaps you'd like to read what David Binder has to say in a 1987 NYT article about this http://www.kunstradio.at/WAR/binder-nytimes.html). I assure you that despite their avoidance of discussing these issues, it is precisely *these* issues that drive the Serbian players to win, to strive for excellence, to show the world that they and their nation are human beings and not the animals that they have unjustifiably portrayed as being for the past 20 years by a mendacious media and Western politicans.

Posted by Ronnie 03/24/2008 at 03:09 AM

Fish and Djoko were playing poker.
Fish: All in!
Djoko: I call.
Fish: I have three break points!
Djoko: not good, three aces!

Posted by jojo 03/24/2008 at 03:15 AM

While we're on the topic, how about those ridiculous James Blake fans at the US Open (the J-Block) always chanting USA!_USA! They remind me of Homer Simpson. when I watched James play Fabrice Santoro, I couldn't help but stand up and yell "Viva La France!" when Fabrice won a tough point.....and I'm an American! Save the jingoism for the Davis Cup.....root for the individual.

Posted by PM 03/24/2008 at 03:18 AM

jojo: Perhaps Mr. Bodo could write an article about the French fans cheering "Vive la France" and how that connects to French brutality in the Algerian war of independence.

Posted by L. Rubin 03/24/2008 at 03:37 AM

"I assure you that despite their avoidance of discussing these issues, it is precisely *these* issues that drive the Serbian players to win."

Wrong, PM. Djoker has made many highly televised statements about his position on the status of Kosovo. I'm surprised, considering your evident passion, that you failed to take notice of this.

A few other points:

1. Pete Bodo (who is, incidentally, an Eastern European) is not a racist, and the use of "Slobodan" hardly constitutes a reason to fling this baseless (and shameless) accusation his way.

2. The "Western" sports media that you guys take issue with has sung Serbia's praises of late. ESPN aired a hugely sympathetic documentary on the NATO bombings many times during the Australian Open, and the match announcers (Fowler, Enberg, McEnroe) made innumerable comments about the NATO bombings and the conditions these players were forced to work in.

3. Before writing what I am about to write, I'd like to tell you that I am an Israeli Jew living in the United States. I offer this in order to assure you that I know what it feels like to be accused, most often by ignorant people, of being an occupier, a fascist, etc. That said, you must remember (several of you mentioned the anniversary of NATO's strikes) that we can, in fact, mention many other anniversaries (hell, everyday is an anniversary): Srebrenica, the opening of the Omarska concentration camp, the air raid on Dubrovnik, etc. Please (pretty please) do not try to victimize your country. I don't do it, and I was born in Israel!

--Liron

Posted by PM 03/24/2008 at 03:53 AM

As an Israeli Jew, and given how maligned your own people are, you might have considered investigating more in depth all these events you mentioned before jumping to conclusions. But since this is a tennis forum, I'm not doing that job for you. If you are interested in the other side of the truth, please search keywords like "Naser Oric" in connection with Srebrenica, "Celebici" in connection with detention camps, Kazani + Topalovic in connection with Sarajevo, Mirko Norac in connection with Krajina, and Tomislav Mercep in connection with Vukovar. That's just a very few pieces of the other side of the truth - a side you never heard, yet you were quick to rush to judgment.

And while you're at it, why don't you search the keywords "Jasenovac" and "Stara Gradiska".

Posted by mw 03/24/2008 at 03:59 AM

PM

You love to listen to yourself talk..don't you?

Do you have anything to say about the actual "tennis" that has taken place? You are proving exactly why politics should not be involved in sports.

You took a bad joke and turned it into a political forum. If you want to rant about the "opression" of Serbia, then may I suggest you get your own site and feel free to spew out as much dribble as you want.

But this is a tennis site....and we should keep the focus on tennis.

The simple fact of the matter is... the Serb fans behaved like jerks, at a tennis match!

Stop trying to make it more than what it is. Or giving them excuses. And yes, we all know about the plight of Serbian people. We don't need a History lesson from you, just to show us how "learned" you are. We get it!

I for one like Novak. But as for the fans.. I repeat..they acted like Jerks! And they behaved like Jerks!

Posted by fifteenlove 03/24/2008 at 04:06 AM

for heaven's sake it's just a joke. get yourself a sense of humour.

Posted by fifteenlove 03/24/2008 at 04:11 AM

oops, i didn't realise that has already been said. never mind. no harm re-emphasising that.

Posted by borte 03/24/2008 at 04:15 AM

Writing more than a half of the article about fan's behaviour instead of tennis matches and players was a mistake, but I'm sure Pete will give us more insightful blogs.Give more credits to all finalists and other players rather than discussing their families, fans, countries of origin unless you have to say something positive.

Posted by L. Rubin 03/24/2008 at 04:17 AM

PM,

In fact, I was not quick to judge anything. The atrocities I mentioned are quite real, and your request that I research the "other side of the truth" does not change an irrefutable fact: that is, that the perpetrators of the atrocities in Bosnia and the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo were Serbs. Can you honestly imply, PM, that the Serbian military did not commit crimes in Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo? Wouldn't you laugh if I dared to write that the Israeli military has not wronged the Palestinians? Does my willingness to admit that make light of Israeli suffering? I think not!

Please note, too, that I am in no way (I'd like to think that I am neither ignorant or cruel) attempting to cheapen or dismiss the very real sufferings of your own people.

--Liron

P.S. Go Djokovic! :)

Posted by PM 03/24/2008 at 04:33 AM

Liron, I'm not going to argue politics or history with you. This was supposed to be about tennis, but unfortunately it turned into an ethnic bash, starting off with Mr. Bodo's "jokes". (Btw, I never denied crimes by the Serb side, only pointed out that there were many crimes perpetrated against Serbs in Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo that are unmentioned in the media and as yet unpunished, but I'll leave it at that and I hope you will too).

Posted by L. Rubin 03/24/2008 at 04:48 AM

PM,

Good idea. Night, all.

--Liron

Posted by Marian 03/24/2008 at 05:37 AM

No pun intended but..

Aren't we glad that Roger -The Number One- is Swiss?

Now, forget IW and on to Miami!

Posted by svelterogue 03/24/2008 at 06:56 AM

oh pete, so many of your paragraphs in this lovely article had me in stitches --- you couldn't have described rafa and the serbian fans in more colourful terms.

thank you for this insightful article on the four finalists of yesterday's interesting matches. and thank you for the light, positive aura that imbues this post. it is deeply appreciated.

svelterogue

Posted by Love 40 03/24/2008 at 06:58 AM

Very bad and out of place jokes by Pete. You comparing those fans with COWBOYS? That was a very cheap way to get a point.

Posted by toni child 03/24/2008 at 07:07 AM

Oh Pete!
How about u get some other dude 2 read ur articles before they are published? Coz more often than not, they always coz controvercies.
This should have been a great opportunity 4 the fans to shout the praises of both Ana, Novak, and 2 some extent Mardi, whose run to the final was awesome. Instead it has turned into a political forum and u have 2 admit that, 2 a large extent u are to blame 4 that!

Posted by 1389 03/24/2008 at 07:25 AM

Great article. Full of wisdom and sophisticated jokes,no?
You should try stand-up comedy...

Congratulations to Nole, on to Miami. Good luck to him and all other players ;)

Posted by Harvard_Serb 03/24/2008 at 07:57 AM

"Next, you need to get a sense of humor. "

Oh yeah? Since when is finding you funny equivalent to having a sense of humor? The column is boring, pretentious and full of affectations. You are trying very hard to be interesting, but you are simply not succeeding.

Posted by svelterogue 03/24/2008 at 08:07 AM

it really was a funny piece and now have just begun to realise that what i may have found amusing can touch off deep chords of hurt in others.

for this insensitivity, i apologise. i have just come from the "made in struggle" comments section of pete's blog and a particular poster has put it upon itself to malign (by some ignorant twist, at best) what it perceives as savage peoples stranded in the middle of the pacific in order to defend rafa.

there can be comments casually flung around that will step on national sensibilities and hurts, and being non-american on this board, have had to read quite a lot of those. i've laughed at some, been stung by some. what's clear is that there are many hurts conditioned by history always present, making us who we are.

i'm hoping the glorious tennis of ana and novak can edify the entire experience, in spite of the presence of rowdy fans. my word for it is "jologs" and i know tennisesq got the reference. having said that, i also know that such behaviour is never excusable, regardless of who the fans are and where they are doing it.

Posted by Sarah 03/24/2008 at 08:18 AM

Hey Pete -- thanks for the writing, and keep it up.

Posted by Samantha Elin 03/24/2008 at 08:18 AM

Very funny piece which I enjoyed. Chill to those who want to talk about politics. Congrats to Ana and Novak and to Serbia. Now it's on to Miami. I only wish Maria "my shoulder hurts" everytime I lose a match was there, so the Queen could get her revenge. It should be exciting, I just hope there will be more coverage then we got at IW. Go Justine, world's #1!

Posted by 03/24/2008 at 08:20 AM

are we still talking tennis here? pretty good tournament it has been with some great up-sets...

Posted by Pierre 03/24/2008 at 08:22 AM

I watched the final between Djokovic and Fish on t.v., I was interested in the tennis and I had no idea there was such a problem with noise etc. from some of the Serbian fans.

I never once thought about politics or Serbia while watching the tennis.

But I don’t think there is anything wrong with reporting on that, especially from someone who was there. That is part of the story you wouldn’t get otherwise.

I didn't find the piece to be anti-Serbian either. If anything, by reporting on a form of political protest (holding up signs about Kosovo) that would only support the cause of people in the crowd who felt compelled to make that gesture.

I have read the comments here and it has led me to do more reading on the situation in Kosovo, and also prompted by the post of PM at 3:53 a.m. I looked up the instances of crimes against Serbians that were cited.

My only comment is that it is good to have these things brought to light, it would be ludicrous for me to make any statements about events in Serbia, or Kosovo, considering the gravity and history of the situation, except that the worst thing would be to ignore all of these events, so many people have suffered on all sides and people need to be informed about it. So I see nothing wrong with bringing up the subject.

Posted by Master Ace 03/24/2008 at 08:22 AM

Novak was able to stop Mardy for playing his attacking style for most of the match except when he lead Mardy 4-2 in set 2. But, as the momentum was on Mardy's side and down 0-40, Novak came up with 3 aces to turn the tide. Novak also came up with the crucial points on his serve when he needed it.

Even though 2008 is only 2.5 months old, Novak Djokovic is the best player in the ATP at the moment.

Posted by Kuzzy for French Open 2008 03/24/2008 at 08:51 AM

Racism - consider themselves intrinsically superior to members of other racial groups
Prejudice - making a decision before becoming aware of the relevant facts of a case or event
Tennis - Tennis is a game played between two players (singles) or between two teams of two players (doubles). Each player uses a strung racquet to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt (most of the time yellow,[1] but can be any color or even two-tone) over a net into the opponent's court.
Boorish (Fans) - boor, a peasant or uncultured person

Put all of the above together and tell me where in the article does Pete refer to Serbs as racist, prejudiced, attacks the Serbian nation as boors or boorish fans. Someone please tell me as I seem to have misplaced my reading aids somewhere. I watched the match between Sveta/Ana and I have to say that almost everytime Sveta went to hit a second serve someone shouted out in the crowd. Did not know what they said (it was in English) but each time the umpire had to ask the crowd to not do that. Methinks that that sort of behaviour has no place in any sporting environment, but especially in a sport as individualised as tennis.
And I hate when people use the words racist, prejudice etc. to bemoan the fate of their nation - if you want to see racism and prejudice - just look in the mirror

Posted by Princess of Darkness (aka Aussie Ange) 03/24/2008 at 09:04 AM

Just finished watching the mens final congrats to Nole and Fish. I also felt sorry for Svetlana I will hop on Kuzzy for FO bandwagon. I really liked her coach he looked like a nice guy. My keyboard is still playing up and jumping all over the place. I am so in love with my laptop.

Enjoy the tennis in Miami, Fox doesn't start showing any coverage until Saturday. Also thanks to Andrew, Whitney and others who did match calling and reported back from IW. A job well done.

Nighty Night.

Posted by roshin 03/24/2008 at 09:07 AM

Ivanovic made her country proud while djokovic is a disgrace to his country because of his ill mannered behaviour taught by his parents.

Posted by PaulC 03/24/2008 at 09:17 AM

Among my sports loving friends, none are the kind who will turn on a tennis tourney. If they happen to watch one, they inevitably ask why everyone has to be quiet during the serve (and the point). I don't have a good answer, other than, that's how tennis is played.

Since that is how tennis is played, the Srrrbeeaanns should STFU.

Posted by Irish Angel 03/24/2008 at 09:28 AM

I always enjoy a good Tennis Match...I never played..but I have
been following the sport for many years..Chang was my first..
and he was very good..but, as for the Indian Wells games...here
in Boston..the Fox Sports Network dropped all the sets right at the Hottest moment...they switched to show their usual sports shows....I was ticked...I hope Fox isn't to be the Channel of choice for the rest of the season...shame on Fox..if you agree to be a Tennis station, fix it!!!!!I have always been a great fan Of "RAFA" but I think Novak is the newest winner on the scene.best wishes to all the Serbian Players...

Posted by Irish Angel 03/24/2008 at 09:28 AM

I always enjoy a good Tennis Match...I never played..but I have
been following the sport for many years..Chang was my first..
and he was very good..but, as for the Indian Wells games...here
in Boston..the Fox Sports Network dropped all the sets right at the Hottest moment...they switched to show their usual sports shows....I was ticked...I hope Fox isn't to be the Channel of choice for the rest of the season...shame on Fox..if you agree to be a Tennis station, fix it!!!!!I have always been a great fan Of "RAFA" but I think Novak is the newest winner on the scene.best wishes to all the Serbian Players...

Posted by Irish Angel 03/24/2008 at 09:29 AM

I always enjoy a good Tennis Match...I never played..but I have
been following the sport for many years..Chang was my first..
and he was very good..but, as for the Indian Wells games...here
in Boston..the Fox Sports Network dropped all the sets right at the Hottest moment...they switched to show their usual sports shows....I was ticked...I hope Fox isn't to be the Channel of choice for the rest of the season...shame on Fox..if you agree to be a Tennis station, fix it!!!!!I have always been a great fan Of "RAFA" but I think Novak is the newest winner on the scene.best wishes to all the Serbian Players...

Posted by GameSetMatch 03/24/2008 at 09:49 AM

Wow!!!???
Pete, love reading your columns, usually very in depth and thorough, but got to admit u were out of line today. It's hard for people to understand that type of comments, "Ok, Slobodan ref (Miliosevic)" and "torching Denny's", are insulting and condescending for a small and proud nation such as Serbia. In this very delicate moment where a part of Serbian land is literary being stolen from Serbs, comments as those above are very inappropriate, border line "rude". Your contra - argument is "come on guys, take a joke..."??! The article shouldn't have been about politics (especially if u're not competent nor knowlagable to discuss the same issue). Any other comments directed towards explaining your "out of line" position, is suffice... So just stick to doing what u're doing best, and that's giving your insights and opinions on tennis and game as it is. To everyone trying to justify Pete, something to think about "what if New Mexico was to declare independence, or Catalonia in Spain, or ... the list goes on and on, and u're helpless...". Anyhow, to all people, lovers of this beautiful game sincere greetings from Serbia. Pete keep up the good work and stick to the subject, cause u're awesome at it, one of the best!!!
Novak: "Don't worry guys, i still LOVE U!".

Posted by Ruth 03/24/2008 at 10:04 AM

GameSetMatch: I wasn't able to see the match, and I wonder if you can tell me the context of Nole's "Don't worry..." statement that you mentioned. I'm curious because it reminds me so much of something Serena said during the IW 2001 awards ceremony. Thanks.

Posted by Brian 03/24/2008 at 10:12 AM

man u guys just keep going back to the same rubbish, its not the fact that he mentioned the fans, they were bad, yes. it's the fact that he mentioned slobodan milosevic. which hence forth means that he was the one who brought politics into it. It's like calling a bunch of Germans little Hitlers cause they were too rowdy ... maybe a bad example but you get the idea.

and serbs are not a race. it was not racist, it was distasteful and should be kept in mind in the future, so that it's not repeated. be more culturally sensitive. and tone it down with the dictionary definitions - "kuzzy for french open 2008". (I think you did misplace your reading aids (please don't take offence) you misread what was written , yes serbs were not called racist. but rather comments were made against serbs which were culturally insensitive. and also by your last comment you seem to imply that the people who contradicted your opinion are racists, in which case most of them were serbs, so you are in fact saying serbs are racist. sounds slightly hypocritical to me.

but anyway lets leave it at that. no offence intended at anyone, just thought to add my 2 cents.

Posted by Todd and in Charge 03/24/2008 at 10:14 AM

Hey I thought the finals were great Sunday, and except for a pesky conference call this morning, I'm hoping to get out to see some qualies on Key Biscayne around lunchtime.

If I see anything interesting I will report in.

BTW, Stacey Gardner is now officially My Favorite Lawyer.

Posted by rudy3 03/24/2008 at 10:16 AM

Ruth,
In context, Novak appologized to the crowd for cursing during the match. And he joked that "you probably didn't understand me".
He was unhappy with a group of yahoo's that were up in the top of the stadium, they did have Serbian flags and body paint, and they were increasingly obnoxious. Novak admonished them during the match. He gave a serve to Mardy after one of their outbursts. And Carlos Bernardies in the chair spoke to the them directly.

The "don't worry guys..." comment from Novak was directed at them. The Serbian group. Not the stadium crowd in general.

Posted by Master Ace 03/24/2008 at 10:17 AM

Todd and in Charge,
Please let TW know what you observe at KB today whether there is a deal or no deal.

Posted by PaulC 03/24/2008 at 10:20 AM

"BTW, Stacey Gardner is now officially My Favorite Lawyer."

Ditto. She represents well.

Posted by VE 03/24/2008 at 10:34 AM

I wish I could have seen the tennis, but the Fox Sports cash grab in the USA made it (virtually) impossible for many of us to watch the matches. I know there is Masters Series TV and while I will happily support the tournaments I'm able to attend, I think it's ridiculous to be asked to pay $70 to watch eight tournaments, a fair number of which will occur in the early morning before I'm even borderline coherent.

Regarding the fans' behavior, as an American, the J-Block frankly drives me nuts. I'm lucky enough to live in New York and get to watch the US Open live, and they are more annoying live than on TV. Sad, because they represent such a classy ambassador for the game. We have our clueless fans here, so does Israel as evdienced by the recent Fed Cup tie, so do many other parts of the tennis world.

But let's all be honest, how many days of the week do we lament tennis' falling off the radar. Golf learned to deal with the rowdier, less acclimated galleries that follow Tiger Woods around the course. Tennis will learn to deal with the fans from all the newly tennis mad nations (and some loud, drunken New York-types as well).

And before I forget to do so, congrats to Mardy on a helluva week, I'm hoping (since his knees weren't strapped yesterday) that he can stay healthy enough to make a run at the Top 20 again.

Posted by Andrew 03/24/2008 at 10:41 AM

Morning all. Man, tough crowd here overnight.

My own take, for what it's worth, is that it's very easy for the actions of a few to seriously damage the standing of many.

The emergence of Ivanovic, Jankovic and Djokovic is one of the great stories of 2007, and it's been written about very positively on this blog (see the WTA story at Roland Garros), and Pete's description of Djokovic as "the perfect player") after his Miami win.

Yesterday, I'm pretty sure everyone in the stadium could have handled "Srrr-bee-yah! Srrr-bee-yah!" all afternoon. In the men's match, most of the patrons were desperate to start chanting "USA! USA!" but that's hard to do when Fish couldn't take the lead.

It was the literally incessant attempts to barrack an opponent which had neutral observers muttering. Again, I'll stress, this wasn't done by "the Serb fans" as a group, but by a small number of individuals scattered around the stands. Still, this behavior just isn't done, so the actions of a few made a larger group look bad.

Sport often stands as a metaphor for other kinds of competition. The flag waving group isolated high up in the stands spoke of a small nation at the periphery: proud, feisty but also prickly.

Sport is sometimes referred to as a battle, but that's another metaphor - it isn't really a war out there. We're not going to bring the battles over who did what to whom in the Balkans into these pages - this is about tennis. Congratulations to Novak Djolovic and Ana Ivanovic for their two good wins yesterday, and to their fans.

Posted by Master Ace 03/24/2008 at 10:42 AM

VE,
Mardy is at 40 as of now so if he repeats his IW performance at KB, he will be close or in the Top 20. Good points on the crowd behavior issue.

Posted by Master Ace 03/24/2008 at 10:45 AM

Andrew,
With Ana(3rd Tier I win) and Novak(3rd Masters Series) winning yesterday and Jelena making the semis, only to lose to Ana, is Serbia the best tennis nation at the moment?

Posted by Andrew 03/24/2008 at 10:53 AM

MasterAce: on a tennis player per capita basis, hard to argue. Be interesting to see if Serbia can land a Fed or Davis Cup.

Posted by Christopher 03/24/2008 at 10:55 AM

Didn't Nole also use the "It's O.K., I still love you guys" line at the AO ceremony in response to the crowd being pro-Tsonga? It worked wonderfully then, but he best not overuse it.

Notions of national identity are funny things. Nole is seen as a great hero in Serbia, and perhaps rightly so. But he doesn't seem to love the place enough to pay taxes there, as he lives in Monaco (maybe I'm wrong about the motivation, but that does seem to be the reason most European tennis players, from Borg on, move to Monaco). My guess is that American fans would act VERY negatively towards a major US player who did the same. Can you imagine if Roddick or Blake decided to make Monte Carlo their primary residence to avoid taxes? It would be be looked upon favorably, to put it mildly.

In any case, it is pretty astounding that both winners of this tournament are Serbian in any sense and came of age in a period of great chaos (unlike, say, Kim and Justine in Belgium).

Posted by Ruth 03/24/2008 at 10:56 AM

Thanks, rudy3. In 2001, Serena surprised me (pleasantly) when she made a similar statement to the crowd that had harassed her throughout the whole match.

BTW If anyone who attended IW on Friday can answer my still unanswered question to Andrew about when the cancellation of Fed-Haas match was made and how the crowd reacted the announcement, I'd be most grateful. I'm not trying to reopen any discussion of the old incident; I'm just very curious. You can reply to me privately at rhanley65 at hotmail dot com. Thanks.

Posted by srdjan 03/24/2008 at 10:57 AM

pete u r freeking racist...

u hate serbs obviously....

and it s S E R B I A....

Posted by Todd and in Charge 03/24/2008 at 10:59 AM

MasterAce, good one.

Is it just me or does Mardy have a fundamentally flawed forehand? How many errors on his forehand did he make yesterday? Yet he kept on going there, despite having a spaghetti-like form to it that breaks down under pressure. Compare that to Mardy's two-handed backhand, which is a very clean and dependable stroke. It was as if he was trying to will his forehand to perform for him, regardless of whether it was a smart move or not.

Reminds me of my own play yesterday morning.

Posted by twixx 03/24/2008 at 11:00 AM

by reading this thread, especially posts from some serbian supporters, i came to conclusion that no wonder djokovic, from time to time, swears to them. we saw that in AO, we saw alot of it in belgrade during the fed cup with australia. cool down slobodan.

Posted by srdjan 03/24/2008 at 11:01 AM

n why u talking about serb fans...

write as somethin about tennis...

Posted by twixx 03/24/2008 at 11:05 AM

srdjan, mabe just because the mob was obnoxious.

Posted by JT 03/24/2008 at 11:07 AM

Sad little post - control yourself and have in mind you're supposed to write about tennis!

Posted by beth 03/24/2008 at 11:07 AM

Ruth - how are you and your darling grandbaby? I was only at IW for the first weekend - so I do not know how the crowd reacted at the cancellation. not much help from me - I know
I do know that crowd reaction when I was there - to all of the players was very positive
Most of the tennis fans there were pretty knowledgeable. They had heard of many of the less than marquis names - and were out in huge crowds to see them play on the back courts. Most people we talked to were in a quandry over which matches to see - there were so many going on. Of course, the biggest crowds went to see Fed, Nadal and Roddick - you could spot them on the practice courts just by the size of the crowd gathered around the fences. And you could guess which one was there by the demographic in the crowd. Roger attracts a decidedly older crowd than the other two with Rafa cornering the kid market by far. Moya still reigns supreme in the female 20 - 35 bracket .

Christopher - interesting point . I have often wondered how the fans of those players in their homelands feel about the tax motivated relocation. I agree I doubt the American public would take it too well. However, unless I am way off the mark , I believe that the European taxes are considerably higher than ours. I know that is hard to believe , but i think it is accurate.

Posted by anna 03/24/2008 at 11:16 AM

Maybe folks have noticed that certain nationals are very nationalistic and bring this to tennis matches where in my opinion it does not belong.Nationals of Greece (Baghdatis supporters),nationals of Argentinia (any Argentinian player supporters) nationals of Serbia (Djokovic Ivanovic supporters),and nationals of America (Blake supporters).These fans can be obnoxious with their chants and aggressive behaviour.What seems out of place is that individual tennis players are not playing for their country,unless they are playing in Davis Cup where screaming chants and banging things together is acceptable.
On another note wish I enjoyed Djokovic as a person or even a player but I don't.
Can't wait for Roger and Rafa to play well again cos I sure enjoy their classey play and behaviour.

Posted by anna 03/24/2008 at 11:16 AM

Maybe folks have noticed that certain nationals are very nationalistic and bring this to tennis matches where in my opinion it does not belong.Nationals of Greece (Baghdatis supporters),nationals of Argentinia (any Argentinian player supporters) nationals of Serbia (Djokovic Ivanovic supporters),and nationals of America (Blake supporters).These fans can be obnoxious with their chants and aggressive behaviour.What seems out of place is that individual tennis players are not playing for their country,unless they are playing in Davis Cup where screaming chants and banging things together is acceptable.
On another note wish I enjoyed Djokovic as a person or even a player but I don't.
Can't wait for Roger and Rafa to play well again cos I sure enjoy their classey play and behaviour.

Posted by Christopher 03/24/2008 at 11:18 AM

Beth- You're definitely right about European taxes (though I don't know about Serbia specifically). Borg would have been in something like a 70-80% tax bracket back in the day. But the question still remains, as plenty of other Swedes, Serbs, etc. DO pay those taxes. I also think it odd that players can still play Davis or Fed Cup (or Olympics) for countries where they don't live and haven't paid taxes for years. Maria has lived in the US since she was what, six? Is she paying Russian taxes? I doubt it. Are Russian NHL players?

Of course then Monaco would have quite the string of Davis Cup wins!

Posted by Evie 03/24/2008 at 11:19 AM

Congratulations to both Djoko and Ana!

Posted by 03/24/2008 at 11:22 AM

Niole looks a bit like Rafa in the picture. He's wearing grey like Rafa did last year. Is that the color for the IW champion usually?

Posted by Lisa 03/24/2008 at 11:25 AM

Sorry Peter, but this was way over the line. You need to apologize for this or remove/edit this wretched article.

Posted by beth 03/24/2008 at 11:27 AM

Christopher - thanks for the confirmation
ha - Monaco has great Davis Cup ! that is a good one
I guess the players maintain a dual citizenship

apparently Switzerland also has some sort of tax deal , as you will see that many of the players Ivanovic and Gasquet , for example , have Swiss residences .

Now , as for American taxes, I read a report in the Wall Street Journal not too long ago, that the IRS is coming after foreign sports nationals who play here , win prize money but somehow avoid paying taxes here. My guess is the Novak's big prize check will be cut in half before he gets out of IW this morning .

Posted by Evie 03/24/2008 at 11:28 AM

That was me att 11:22 am

Posted by Lisa 03/24/2008 at 11:31 AM

How about this: “By game three, even fans pre-disposed to tolerance were thinking, Okay, Hitler, cool it already! and wondering what these dudes would do should Boris Becker happen to lose - run out and torch a Denny's?”

Posted by beth 03/24/2008 at 11:37 AM

Evie - sorry - don't see the resemblance
and besides - Rafa wore blue last year - just like he did this year
in practice and in doubles he even wore the 'do rag like last year
( remember Tim's rant about Sister Maria Rafael?)
maybe he thought it held some good luck charm for him

Posted by Evie 03/24/2008 at 11:43 AM

beth, not the picture in this post, but the picture in the main page, where Djoko is holding the trophy.

Posted by Master Ace 03/24/2008 at 11:44 AM

The draw for Miami comes out in about 2-3 hours from now. Will Fish be the first opponent for the Top 3 in the World?

Posted by Maja 03/24/2008 at 11:49 AM

I'm a big Djokovic's fan (altought I'm not from Serbia) and I like all your articles Pete. Big hug!

Posted by Arcilla Tacones/ Andrea 03/24/2008 at 11:49 AM

Oh hail no! Novak immitates another Rafa trademark- trophy biting:
http://www.tennis.com/photogallery/photogallery.aspx?libid=124182

Posted by Evie 03/24/2008 at 11:50 AM

I am still a bit lazy to read Pete's article so I cannot try to appease some posters here. But for the record, I am a Rafa supporter and also a Fed one. Nole, I am not fond off yet mainly because he is a rival, but I do think that he is almost a perfect player.

Posted by Maja 03/24/2008 at 11:55 AM

@Arcilla Tacones/ Andrea

Trophy biting is not Rafa's patent (or trademark) - that's what many players from all kinds of different sports do - that's not anything what Rafa made up first.

Posted by beth 03/24/2008 at 11:58 AM

evie - ok - will check it out :)

Posted by Eddy 03/24/2008 at 12:01 PM

I think if it had been obvious to everyone in the stadium what the banner meant, then perhaps it should have been removed. As long as it poses no threat to the situation, isn't that what free speech is?

Posted by Andrew 03/24/2008 at 12:03 PM

Godwin's Law alert at 11:31am. Dude seems to be busy recently.

Posted by Ruth 03/24/2008 at 12:03 PM

Beth: You're right about the focus on foreign pro athletes and taxes in the USA. Agassi (or his lawyers) waged a long battle about paying taxes to England on income earned at Wimby et al, and I think he lost the case.

Soli is doing very well, and we're excitedly awaiting a visit from him and his parents in early April.

I knew that you'd left IW after the early part of the tourney, but I'm sure that there were some TWibers there later on who might be able to fill me in.

I prefer going to the earlier days of most tournaments, as you did. Even though my USO buddy is now fully retired, I teach only one day a week, and we can now go to NYC during the second USO week (when college classes have started), we are not even considering changing our USO ticket dates from the first week (which they've been for 11 years). In fact, this year, we're going from Wednesday-Friday to Monday-Friday. More players to see in person -- more bang for your buck -- in Week 1!

Posted by crazyone 03/24/2008 at 12:08 PM

Master Ace: are you the poster formerly known as Schwab?

Posted by beth 03/24/2008 at 12:11 PM

Ruth - glad to hear the little one is doing well
and I know you are eagerly anticipating a visit. Enjoy it !

I love the first week of a big tournament . - although I ran my legs off between courts - trying to see at least a set of all the players I wanted to see. Sometimes their matches would come up at exactly the same times.

Posted by Sher 03/24/2008 at 12:12 PM

[The epiphany came at an inconvenient time - 4 AM, by Fish's reckoning, and he did what any red-blooded American boy would do when faced with a similarly unnerving realization: He flipped on ESPN to check on the scores and highlights of yesterday's March Madness action.]

Hilarious.

Posted by CL 03/24/2008 at 12:16 PM

I wasn't surprised that Mardy had a bit of a let down. In fact, it would be pretty 'normal' if he crashed out of Miami early. Seems de rigeur when a player gets hot and takes a big leap upward in the ranking. In the next tourney they often go all wozzly. But it will be interesting to see if he can maintain this level of play through the hard and grass court season(s). Don't see him doing very well on clay. I think he has benefited greatly from being injury free for a change and also, from the fact that the players haven't yet had a chance to adjust to the 'new' Mardy.

I was never really a big fan of Mardy's (I am abstaining from Fish puns as well as emoticons). I always considered him one of the frat boys, (sorry beth), like the latter day Roddick. But I was impressed by both his tennis and his general demeanor. On court he was focused and positive. His serving really is very good because of how flat that t serve is and his ease at going out wide. And his second serve seems quite effective. And off court - going by his pressers - he was funny, realistic and insightful. Now we just need to get him dressed like a pro tennis player instead of a slacker shlub. Maybe Mirka should start a fashion consulting business for tennis pros.

Posted by Sher 03/24/2008 at 12:22 PM

It shouldn't be so shocking, Pete, that when the humour is purposefully outrageous, some will be outraged.

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