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Spiraling Joys 01/18/2009 - 9:00 AM

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By Pete Bodo

Well, the bit is in, it's time to cinch the girth and get ready to ride; it's likely that by the next time I post, the optic-yellow pills will be flying and somebody will be pumping a fist and screaming, "Come on!"  I have two bits of housekeeping to take care of first off:

1 - Tennis.com's exclusive, live coverage of the Australian Open will be provided primarily by two staffers on the ground in Melbourne as I write this: Abby Lorge, our web mistress, and Tom Perrotta. Many of you remember Tomahawk's long-dormant String Theory blog from Grand Slams past. Well, it's up and running again, and it will be a good place to go for original, exclusive material from the tournament.

2 - Tennis.com will be providing an automatic daily newsletter from the AO. It's free, and you can sign up for daily delivery here.

This year, I'm going to try to catch more of the action on TV, which is an oft-broken promise I make myself because, well, I guess at heart I'm not a TV guy. I get edgy and restless when I'm just watching television; I start gnawing my fingernails (an unfortunate lifelong habit), then I jump up and suddenly, 10 minutes later, I've got my head buried in the walk-in closet and I've got the vacuum cleaner taken apart because the belt that drives the power roller snapped (something like 19 months ago) and must be replaced.

How I can spend so much time sitting around writing without experiencing similar urges or fears that I'm going to explode if I don't do something is a mystery to me. But one thing is for sure; I've been spoiled by purty near a lifetime spent watching more live tennis than is anybody's right to hope to see. But in all truth, any sports on television is something I rarely "watch." It's more like something I experience as background music, or some other ambient condition.

But this year I'm going to be more patient, attentive, and amenable to getting sucked into the electro-transmission of light waves flowing and melding in the black box to form the image of Roger Federer, or Jelena Jankovic.  BTW, did you see that item in the news the other day, about how we're getting closer to the day when concrete objects (including human beings, I presume) can be rendered invisible by bending light rays? Maybe I should paying more attention to all this Star Wars crap that has cowboy Luke so mesmerized. This breakthrough will take pay-for-view to a whole new level, I predict.

Sitting here at the farm, with a green piece of ash hissing as the wood stove boils out the moisture inside the log, I'm thinking about fans (as many of you know, I loathe what is commonly known as "bracketology") and the exquisite torture they'll be putting themselves through over these next two weeks.Two-hundred and fifty-six players will sally forth in quest of the men's and womens' singles titles, and only one man and one woman's mission will be a complete success. That gives you a rough idea of how perilous it is to be a fan.

I've often written that, to my mind, there are two kinds of fans out there: general tennis fans, for whom the game overshadows the transient individuals who play it (even though those fans have their heroes and villains), and those who sometimes seem more enamored of specific individuals than of the game in general.

I suppose that's true in all sports, but in tennis the pool of fans who attach their devotion to a single player (or players) is much greater - this is why you still find the occasional outlier who bangs his fist on the virtual table in a place like this and says something like: tennis ain't been the same since the days of McEnroe and Connors! He has a point, of course, but it's the self-evident one: nothing is ever the same as it was 10, 20 or 100 years ago. That's what happens when your interest is rooted in individuals, not the enterprise itself.

Team sports are in many ways much easier on the fan. Every day, I see guys wearing nylon New York Giants red, white and blue windbreakers, or OSHA-certified hard hats modeled on the Giants' helmet, complete with the logo. These guys are willing to sit in Giants' stadium in freezing rain in December, so you know they're committed. Yet very few of them are first and foremost Eli Manning fans - what they are is Giants fans, and if Manning happens to wreck their dreams, they're more than happy to throw him under the bus. Oh, they like some players more than others, but their allegiance is to the institution (the Giants), not to one or another of the people who, at any given time,  happen to play on the team. This is a liberating and generous mandate for the fan, because it allows him to be a fan as well as a critic. Nobody questions the Giant blue blood of a fan who boos a missed tackle by Antonio Pierce. How often does your typical Novak Djokovic fan boo when Nole blows a passing shot?

But tennis isn't a team sport (even Davis Cup in certain ways fails the smell test). Only those who are fans of the game in general are given latitude for dissent when it comes to the players, but they also are denied the heart-wrenching agony and the spiraling, concentrated joy experienced by fans of specific players. In some ways, those who resist - or keep in perspective - the siren song of personality issuing from each player are realists; those who do not, the diehard fans and KADs, are romantics.

I've often wondered, why would someone live and die by how Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal did on a given day? What's in it for them? Why make that investment?

Fans Not to get too heavy about it - okay, I'll get all heavy about it - I think having a specific, overwhelming favorite, while a narrow and in many ways unforgiving undertaking, gives the fan a way to express and perhaps experience unconditional love. And that's something most of us have spent at least portions of lives hunting. The born-again Christian will understand what I mean; the secular parent will also know -all he has to do is think about how he feels about his kid. We feel good about ourselves when we love unconditionally; we also long to be loved unconditionally, at least partly because it allows us to, well, get away with stuff. But by entering into this kind of relationship with a hero, we stake a partial claim to his or her conquests. When Ana Ivanovic wins, I win too, because I love Ana and this win is my reward for it - unconditionality be damned.

At some level, it's risky to transfer powerful emotions and loyalties to someone you don't know, or know only in his or her limited context as a tennis pro (that is, at some level, a machine. Because anyone who does anything "professionally" is just that, and the lengths to which players go - think Venus or Serena Williams - to try to demonstrate that they aren't "just" tennis players shows it.) How do you know that Janko Tipsarevic really is a "good" person -  because he has a Dostoyevsky quote tattooed on his arm?  Hey, maybe at heart he's more like Raskolnikov, an axe murderer!

We'll never really know how justified our love is, but isn't that moot, when the love we're trying to give is unconditional?  Besides, expending unconditional love on a tennis player is only risky in theory - unlike, say, expending unconditional love on a girlfriend, or spouse. It isn't like any of you guys are going to have to run out for milk because Jelena forgot to pick it up on the way home. The problem with being a uber-fan is that there's only one way to express that unconditional love (or to even show if it really exists, which really means that you have the capacity for giving it), and that's by loyalty.The fan who doesn't understand or accept that is on his or her way to becoming a stalker. And while loyalty to an institution, like a team, leaves you free to criticize anyone who appears to be an impediment to the success of that organism, you can't really do that with an individual. You're in for a penny, you're in for a dollar. Every tennis player out there is an institution unto himself, and his wins and losses are an open and shut case in which the glory or blame is undistributed.

The down-side of unconditional love is also the true test of the effort:  It's easy to give when you get something in return, but what do you do when you get nothing in return? That almost never happens in tennis, where everyone lives to fight another day, and those upon whom we're most likely to shower our unconditional love tend to be the ones who pay us back in spades. There's a reason the world is crawling with Federer and Nadal fans, while a Vince Spadea or Igor Andreev manages only a bemused "well done!"  now and then. We are, after all, human, and our urge to express and/or experience unconditional love is neatly offset by a considerably more rational desire to see a return on our investment. This explains the gallows humor and wry resignation exhibited by so many fans of Marat Safin. Being his fan is like giving money to that irascible but adorable con man, cousin Charley. It's just the toll you pay for being in his good graces.

Well, I won't go on. I want to finish the book I'm reading (A Terrible Glory, James Donovan's scrupulously researched retelling of the Battle of the Little Big Horn) before the tournament begins. In many ways, the early days of a major event are like one of these epic military battles - there's a lot of smoke and noise, the sheer chaos makes it hard to draw conclusions about anything, and even the most momentous surprise is likely to be long-forgotten by the the beginning of next week.

Feel free to treat this as a pre-Crisis Center post, and talk about whatever moves you on the even of  2009's first major. See y'all a little later.


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Posted by NP 01/18/2009 at 05:34 PM

Alright, I just checked out Christopher's links, and what do you know, Nole's "excuses" read somewhat differently when judged in context.

Let's start with the most recent one. It's quite clear that Nole brought up the racket issue less as an excuse than as a counter to the criticism that he lost to Gulbis because of his golf or partying. And as JJ pointed out a few days ago, this actually makes him appear vulnerable to his potential challengers, and he really should be criticized for that, not for being a "whiner."

On to the other examples. When you read the transcripts you'll see that the 1st question is of the "what's wrong" variety. It's then not surprising that his answers would sound like whines outta context. Now, I've said myself that Nole often doesn't seem able to distinguish between actual injuries and mere exhaustion, but this only shows that his frequent timeouts are due to his possible misunderstanding, not intentional gamesmanship. And note how he tries to stop talking about his "injuries" (quotes 'cause we aren't sure they really are injuries) in the USO presser after his WIN over Robredo, or how he credits Moya and discusses the differences between and the difficulties presented by the various hard courts.

This isn't to say Nole isn't without problems--I can see why his saying he "decided not to risk anything" was inappropriate, though he does qualify that beforehand by referring to Fed as "the No. 1 player of the world"--but I'm afraid Christopher's examples only confirm my assertion that the anti-Djoko sentiment is mostly due to bias and misinterpretation.

Posted by Master Ace 01/18/2009 at 05:34 PM

Crazyone,
I will enjoy the AO. Off TW until I get to the day job in the morning.

Posted by ms. tangerine popsicle (tangi) 01/18/2009 at 05:37 PM

Awww, fuzzy one. I've always suspected that a closet FADErer fan lay beneath that yello fuzzy exterior. I'm rather tickled that you're rooting for him. :)

Posted by tina 01/18/2009 at 05:37 PM

Posted by joe 01/18/2009 @ 10:52 AM
Janko Tipsaravic is NOT a good person.. have you ever read one of his interviews?

Oh, joe - can [sic] I call you Joe? - in which language?

Posted by Andrew 01/18/2009 at 05:38 PM

OK, the 5:32 pm "Peter Bodo" was really me. Sorry 'bout that.

NP, someone's arguments only confirm your view that you were right all along? Gosh, who'dathunkit?

Posted by yello fuzzy 'foaming at the mouth' 01/18/2009 at 05:41 PM

ms.popsicle ( can I call you Tangerine?)
alas I've been discovered...I feel kinda bad for him , he's so close to Goathood.
(I'm wearing a sleeveless cardigan right now)

Posted by NP 01/18/2009 at 05:42 PM

Christopher, I saw the Rafa comparison was a joke, which is why I didn't address it in my original post. But then you said this @ 4:30 PM: "Feel free to just read more of his press conferences after losses and compare the to Rafa's under the same circumstances (as that was the main comparison I made yesterday)." I thought you were referring to the facetious comparison, not his pressers. My bad if you meant the latter.

Posted by sblily (Vamos Ferru!) 01/18/2009 at 05:42 PM

Less than 90 minutes left (*squeals*), and a great football game on to keep me entertained in the meantime.

Life is good.

Posted by crazyone 01/18/2009 at 05:44 PM

EAGLES!!!!!!

Posted by Sherlock 01/18/2009 at 05:45 PM

"(I'm wearing a sleeveless cardigan right now)"

LOL. Brilliant. :)

Posted by Jenni 01/18/2009 at 05:45 PM

*hugs sblily* Vamos indeed. Are you ready for the extreme angst? I'm really going to try to keep my complaining to a minimum during the match, unless things are going really badly.

Posted by NP 01/18/2009 at 05:45 PM

Andrew, confirm, reinforce, or what not. You know what I meant.

Posted by Master Ace 01/18/2009 at 05:45 PM

Eagles now lead 25-24 on a TD pass from McNabb to Jackson but missed the 2 pt conversion. McNabb is acting like the best QB in the league now.

10:45 to go in 4th quarter.

Posted by Andrew 01/18/2009 at 05:45 PM

Hmmmm. Oilers-Bills, anyone?

Posted by Sherlock 01/18/2009 at 05:47 PM

Will someone tell Joe Buck to shut up!!!!! If only I had a dollar for every time he's brought up the two-point conversion issue on their previous touchdown. Joe, we get it, can you please move on??? :)

Posted by Andrew 01/18/2009 at 05:48 PM

NP: "Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof." John Kenneth Galbraith.

Posted by rudy3 (electricity is for wimps) 01/18/2009 at 05:49 PM

quoting the great Charlie Brown..."Oh good grief"

Are the Cards folding? Get it, folding?

Posted by Marian 01/18/2009 at 05:50 PM

The ready check for the AO

- TV: check
- DVR: check
- PC: check
- Water: check
- ROGER: check

Ok. I'm ready.

Posted by AmyLu 01/18/2009 at 05:51 PM

*waves hello*

Am I the only one rooting for the Cardinals right now? I feel like it's a lost cause at this point...just hoping the Steelers actually win because the thought of the Ravens in the Super Bowl is just nauseating for me.

Posted by rudy3 (electricity is for wimps) 01/18/2009 at 05:51 PM

"Hmmmm. Oilers-Bills, anyone?"

Oh Andrew, a bitter bitter memory my friend, bitter.

Posted by izidane-Oz09 or bust...it's hereee! 01/18/2009 at 05:51 PM

Woo hoo, bring it!

Last years first match was flabbergasting from Ms.JJ. Hopefully Andy is on his game..no walkabouts.
Go Andy!

Posted by Sherlock 01/18/2009 at 05:52 PM

rudy3, LOL. Very good. :)

I wouldn't say they're folding. The Eagles are a very good team. It's hard to keep playing as perfectly efficient on offense as the Cards were the first half.

Posted by Jenni 01/18/2009 at 05:52 PM

Nope Amylu, I'm rooting for them too. :) Go NFC West!

Posted by naughty T, multi award winner 01/18/2009 at 05:52 PM

well colour me biased and a misinterpreter.

Posted by ptenisnet 01/18/2009 at 05:52 PM

nevermore amylu

Posted by NP 01/18/2009 at 05:52 PM

With all due respect, Andrew, citing Galbraith as an authority in this matter is like referring to talk radio as the beacon of objectivity in the media.

Posted by naughty T, multi award winner 01/18/2009 at 05:53 PM

Somewhere in the depths of Newcastle Rachael is about to combust.

Posted by AmyLu 01/18/2009 at 05:55 PM

Jenni, good to know that I'm in good company. :)

Note to Cardinals Offensive Coordinator, just throw to Fitzgerald, please.

Posted by sblily (Vamos Ferru!) 01/18/2009 at 05:55 PM

Andrew - great quote.

Jenni - I'm ready! I really, really, want to see him do well here. There are other players I get more excited about watching, but none that I want to succeed more than Ferru. *sigh* I feel so protective of him.

Re: Football. It's a shame that someone will have to lose this game.

Posted by crazyone 01/18/2009 at 05:57 PM

what happened to defense????

Posted by rudy3 (electricity is for wimps) 01/18/2009 at 05:58 PM

Come on...its not rocket science...Warner to Fitzgerald, up the middle...6 pts

Posted by yello fuzzy 'foaming at the mouth' 01/18/2009 at 05:58 PM

I gotta go bring in the sheaves
I'll see you lovely folks at Melbourne Park

Posted by Sherlock 01/18/2009 at 05:58 PM

AmyLu, indeed. :) Number 11 is an absolute beast. Though so much is Warner's fault. He was looking like bad Giants-era Warner for the second half until this drive. :)

Jenni, your NFC West loyalty is so admirable. :)

Posted by raul 01/18/2009 at 05:59 PM

just an hour to go folks!

Posted by sblily (Vamos Ferru!) 01/18/2009 at 05:59 PM

I find myself pumping my fist every time AZ gets a first down, so I guess that means I'm rooting for them a little bit.

They are playing well, but this is AZ, and there's still time for them to screw it up. *thinks back to that MNF fiasco against CHI, "The Bears are who we THOUGHT they were," etc*

Posted by neil in toronto 01/18/2009 at 06:00 PM

Wheeee 1 hour till tennis begins!!!!!!!!!!!

Crap i made the wrong rice for dinner meh, now i have to find something to fancy it up with .

Posted by NP 01/18/2009 at 06:00 PM

"I hate quotations. Tell me what you know." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Posted by Jenni 01/18/2009 at 06:00 PM

sblily, that's exactly how I feel. He's not the most exciting for me to watch, but he's the one I get the most emotional about. Crazy, isn't it?

Amylu, I get a 2005 Seahawks vibe from the Cards, which means they will make the Super Bowl and lose to the Steelers in an arguably fixed game.

Posted by rudy3 (electricity is for wimps) 01/18/2009 at 06:01 PM

uh huh, like I said.

Posted by TennisRone 1000 01/18/2009 at 06:01 PM

cards score....30-25...big 2 pt conversion attempt here...obviously...

Posted by sblily (Vamos Ferru!) 01/18/2009 at 06:01 PM

59 minutes!

AZ scored and I cheered. Yep, I'm rooting for them.

Posted by ms. tangerine popsicle (tangi) 01/18/2009 at 06:04 PM

Awww, yello fuzzy. A sleeveless cardigan. LOL You're mellowing! You may even call me tangi if you like. :)

TennisRone!

You're surfacing during a football game? Are you still employed with the sub-prime mess? *fingers crossed*

Posted by AmyLu 01/18/2009 at 06:04 PM

Jenni, that made me laugh a lot. I'm sure Wisenhut (spelling?) would LOVE to have the chance to beat the Steelers in the Super Bowl.

Sherlock, I feel like if the ball is just in the general vicinity of Fitzgerald, he'll make the catch.

Posted by Andrew 01/18/2009 at 06:05 PM

NP: "It ain’t what a man don’t know that makes him a fool, but what he knows that ain’t so."

- Josh Billings

Posted by Ndesque 01/18/2009 at 06:05 PM

To watch the ESPN Preview or the TTC one? I'm already conflicted.

Posted by rudy3 (electricity is for wimps) 01/18/2009 at 06:05 PM

Surely if Jack Bauer were Fed's coach, and House his physio, he would regain his TMF status with ease, no?

Posted by Sherlock 01/18/2009 at 06:06 PM

"The Bears are who we THOUGHT they were,"

Ha!! One of the all-time great pressers. :)

"which means they will make the Super Bowl and lose to the Steelers in an arguably fixed game."

*hugs Jenni* Damn refs. :)

Posted by rudy3 (electricity is for wimps) 01/18/2009 at 06:07 PM

Uh oh...defense AZ defense

Posted by TennisRone 1000 01/18/2009 at 06:08 PM

Hi Tangi! Well..I am still standing at my job. Employed in '09 is my mantra. That's kind of my subprime take for now. Let's just say I'm happy we've turned the page on 2008.

The Aussie Open kicking off and the game were inspirations for my post. Although...I will be headed off to a playoff party after the conclusion of this game. :-/ But I will be about this week.

Posted by siggy 01/18/2009 at 06:08 PM

Tangi, thanks for the update on people's whereabouts. Yoohoo, la Tari, Rogi-time, when's the bar opening (re-opening)?

AmiLu! How's life as a newly-wed? ;)

Don Juan (aka TRone), missed bantering with you, life on wall street still good?

Posted by Andrew 01/18/2009 at 06:09 PM

I don't know who's going to win this game, but it's been quite a scrap.

Mr Curtis reminds me of Nick Nolte in "North Dallas 40."

The main difference between the first and second halves is the pressure exerted on the QBs in each half. McNabb has been in something of an armchair for the last 28 odd minutes.

Posted by sblily (Vamos Ferru!) 01/18/2009 at 06:10 PM

"I feel like if the ball is just in the general vicinity of Fitzgerald, he'll make the catch."

~~~~
I had that exact feeling! Same as the feeling I used to have watching Randy Moss.

Posted by rudy3 (electricity is for wimps) 01/18/2009 at 06:11 PM

Come on Cards!

I off to my mom's house to watch the opening match of the AO. She has a 52" flat screen and homemade spaghetti.

Good luck to all your favorites!

Posted by Sherlock 01/18/2009 at 06:11 PM

Geez, McNabb. Missing badly on those last two passes. :(

Posted by NP 01/18/2009 at 06:11 PM

Andrew: "When one admits that nothing is certain one must, I think, also add that some things are more nearly certain than others."

- Bertrand Russell

Posted by adicecream 01/18/2009 at 06:12 PM

AmyLu, what's wrong with the Ravens in the Super Bowl???

Posted by siggy 01/18/2009 at 06:12 PM

NP, what's with all these epigrams?

Posted by TennisRone 1000 01/18/2009 at 06:12 PM

Hi siggy! It has been some time. How do I look??? ;-D

It's certainly a new world (or old world, depending upon what take you prefer) siggy in my industry. There are soooo many issues still to work through. It will take years. THere is a light at the end of the tunnel. It's just a matter of finding the end of that tunnel. Someone out there is smarter than me and will ultimately figure it out.

WHOA! 4th down and the Eagles do not convert. Pass interference? Not sure....replay FOX?

Posted by NP 01/18/2009 at 06:13 PM

Alright, I'm done (again) with devilish advocacy. Cya all in a few.

Posted by Sherlock 01/18/2009 at 06:13 PM

Um, how exactly is that not pass interference???

Posted by Jenni 01/18/2009 at 06:13 PM

Fox needs to give me a different angle on that pass. Hard for me to tell if there was actually contact or whether that pass was catchable.

Posted by AmyLu 01/18/2009 at 06:14 PM

Hi siggy! Good to see you here! Life as a newly-wed is going along fantastically...thanks for asking.

rudy, that sounds heavenly. Enjoy the tennis and spaghetti!

Wow, I think the Cards may actually pull this off. :)

Posted by NP 01/18/2009 at 06:15 PM

siggy, let's just say Djokovic has spawned 'em all.

Anyhoo gotta go do some housework before tennis starts. Later, folks.

Posted by sblily (Vamos Ferru!) 01/18/2009 at 06:15 PM

Woo hoo, AZ! Now I'll just sit back and hope that Warner doesn't pull a Warner (i.e., fumble).

I'll feel bad for McNabb if they lose this.

45 minutes!!!!

Posted by Sherlock 01/18/2009 at 06:15 PM

Well, Curtis almost caught it anyway. But the Cardinal guy hit the back of his leg and made him trip. Wtf?!?!?!

Posted by AmyLu 01/18/2009 at 06:15 PM

adicecream, I come from a family of die-hard Cleveland fans. And it's pure agony to see the Ravens doing so well since that's the team that relocated from Cleveland, and the current Browns just plain stink.

Posted by Jenni 01/18/2009 at 06:16 PM

Sherlock, it looked to me like he was already going down when the guy hit the back of his leg. Your mileage may vary, of course. :)

Posted by TennisRone 1000 01/18/2009 at 06:17 PM

My goodness...will the Arizona Cardinals be a representative in the Super Bowl in my lifetime? What a country!

Go ISNER! I still hold on to my hollow belief that this guy has the most dangerous weapons of any men's player on the tour. Too bad he moves like a dump truck.

Would love to see Fed add another GS championship to the satchel!!! Very excited about the tennis in this tourney.

Watch for Bagdahtis....if he has anything, he is on a side of the draw that is not too uncomfortable. Another unseeded player to watch....Vaidisova.

Posted by greenhopper 01/18/2009 at 06:18 PM

Great list, popsicle. I can get on board with some of your other favs (Feli, Fabrice, etc).

"Surely if Jack Bauer were Fed's coach, and House his physio, he would regain his TMF status with ease, no?"

I donno who Jack Bauer is, but the mental image of Fed and House is CRACKING ME UP.

Posted by Sherlock 01/18/2009 at 06:18 PM

Jenni, yeah, I can give you that. :) But that still qualifies as PI any day of the week, imo.

Posted by Andrew 01/18/2009 at 06:18 PM

siggy: I think NP and I were in a quotations duel. They can be pretty rough affairs: Tolstoy included a few in "War and Peace," and the quotation duel between Jefferson and Ben Franklin in 1786 almost resulted in Virginia leaving the young USA.

Quotations duels are actually banned in several Southern states, while others forbid them on Sundays betfore noon. NP and I are both consenting adults, so we're ready to take the hits.

Posted by AmyLu 01/18/2009 at 06:19 PM

Sherlock, I expected to see a flag thrown out that play. I hate, regardless of who I'm rooting for, to ever see a game in which the officiating can be a topic of conversation after the game is over.

Posted by TennisRone 1000 01/18/2009 at 06:20 PM

Nine seconds to history here folks. What a good game this was. AS a Giants fan, I couldn't feel any better now. Even though losing Spags is a blow I don't know that the giants coaching staff can overcome.

Posted by siggy 01/18/2009 at 06:21 PM

Don Juan, somebody smarter than you, I remember those bygone days when Alan Greenspan used to be a god, now he's a goat, pfft.... I sure hope Obama (and his people) will be up to the challenges, so many they are, and so deeeep the mess! Wonder how the incominb admin is being perceived by the wall streeters....

And... dear don juan, you don't look a day older, however do you do it? ;)

Posted by AmyLu 01/18/2009 at 06:21 PM

The Arizona Cardinals will play to be Super Bowl Champ...really didn't see that one coming at the start of the playoffs. I'm off to make dinner for the two of us, but I'll be back for tennis. :)

Posted by skip1515 01/18/2009 at 06:21 PM

sigh

Posted by ms. tangerine popsicle (tangi) 01/18/2009 at 06:22 PM

Ndesque,

No conflict where I am. TC preview is on now; ESPN doesn't come on til 6 p.m. CST. Unless they're not showing an ESPN preview here. Are you on the East Coast?

TennisRone,

Are you rooting for the Eagles or are you mad at them for beating your Giants?

Posted by 01/18/2009 at 06:22 PM

Arrgh! This is so painful. Memories of the Wimby final. Great game. Commiserations to fellow Eagles fans. Congrats to Cardinals fans (if any).

Posted by beth 01/18/2009 at 06:22 PM

hi, guys
so ready for tennis !
I am watching football and am in shock
Arizona ? superbowl?
ummm - what ?

anyway - want to really read this post and digest all that Pete has to offer here
just skimming it looks like a great one

not just loving Roger's haircut
hope he did not pay an exorbitant sum for that one
but , well , it will grow

and Rafa sure looked happy with his arms around those showgirls - he does have great smile

Posted by ptenisnet 01/18/2009 at 06:23 PM

man, that was wimbledon 2008 all over again.

Posted by rafadoc 01/18/2009 at 06:23 PM

Ndesque and Tangi...had the same dilemma but TC seems to actually be doing a preview for 2009 and espn is doing more of the history of the AO.

Posted by sblily (Vamos Ferru!) 01/18/2009 at 06:23 PM

Wow. AZ did it. I predicted here they'd win the Super Bowl a couple of weeks ago, but I was just talking out of my a**. Crazy stuff.

I'll be rooting for them against either Pittsburg (meh) or Baltimore (hate).

Commiserations to Donovan F. McNabb, Sam, and the other Philly fans.

37 minutes!!!

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 01/18/2009 at 06:24 PM

Great to see some Rafa fans around hola Jenni,Syblily,Amylu,

I ghave Drs appointment tommorrow,hey those darn officicals should hve checked with me fitst,the cheek of them

Anyway we have great coverage here in Oz,two channels covering the A.O. I will watch on replay later.

Hoping our boy will win his first hard court grand slam in 2009

Vamos Rafa!.

Posted by Jackie 01/18/2009 at 06:24 PM

Ugh, I need to learn to say something before I leave.

tangi, from wayyyyyyy above, re: Hubby - I'm cool with the description. So long as folks are talking 'bout him, right? :)

And thanks for the shoutout, siggy! Don't disappear!

Posted by adicecream 01/18/2009 at 06:24 PM

AmyLu, I can understand that. I swore I would never cheer for the Ravens because Baltimore had stolen Cleveland's team. But over time I was converted, especially when various people reminded me of all the other teams that had moved, and not always in the best circumstances or for what I would consider the best reasons.

So I'm a Ravens fan, tho a lukewarm one really. Football is not tennis, basketball or baseball after all.

Posted by rafadoc 01/18/2009 at 06:25 PM

What a game! Congrats Cards fans and commiserations to Eagles fans.

Beth-yep -Rafa looked pretty happy there-good for him.

I am so excited. Go RAndy, Stan, and Ai (last 2 being my SP picks :)

Posted by Andrew 01/18/2009 at 06:26 PM

So there we have it. Commiserations, Eagles fans, congratulations Cardinal fans.

Sherlock, FWIW, if the crew that officiated the Colts-Chargers game had been on the field, there'd have been six flags on the field for that last Philadelphia pass. I don't like to see officials deciding a match, and I thought that AFC crew was absurdly trigger happy. On balance, I thought PI, but I can (without a dog in the hunt) I could live with the non call.

Because the NFL playoff sstem is so weird, I used to use the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an example of a team who could go and win it all. After they did, I switched to the Cardinals as a "yes, they're crap, but they could win it all next year." For 2010, let's see. The Kansas City Chiefs? Oakland Raiders? Detroit Lions? The Houston Texans, Lord love 'em? Anyone? Bueller?

Posted by Jackie 01/18/2009 at 06:30 PM

OMG, so the game actually got interesting? Freakin' errands.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 01/18/2009 at 06:32 PM

Sherlock forgot to tell you Alicia walked past me the other night was in a big hurray though had to do commentaty for channel 7 on the Safina fina match,she wants to do coaching with the AIS junior devlopment in Canberra I wish her good luck,just saying.........

Posted by Sherlock 01/18/2009 at 06:33 PM

Agreed, Andrew. That Colts officiating crew was pretty trigger happy. Like AmyLu said well, I just hate to see it end on something controversial. And I really think the zebra just swallowed his whistle there, so to speak.

Plus, I was rooting for the Eagles, so I'm ticked anyway.

Ah, well. Sam, whereever you are, I hope you are killing enough brain cells to forget your memories of this one.

Posted by TennisRone 1000 01/18/2009 at 06:33 PM

Ahhh...sig...you know...keep drinking that green tea in the morning...a nice glass of red wine at night...and a pleasant disposition keep Don Juan feeling youthful. Save a seat for me aside you...I hope to make it worth your while one day. Wheeeee! :-P

We'll see what this administration has for the challenges ahead. At least they appear realistic about it. At least he appears to have a vision. Wall Streeters are as welcoming as they always are of democrats. I feel ok having Obama leading us. The constant Abe Lincoln references used by his team are very interesting.......

30 minutes to Oz....

Posted by Master Ace 01/18/2009 at 06:34 PM

I can not believe that the Arizona Cardinals are in the Super Bowl. Thought that 4th down pass to Curtis was pass interference on Hood but no flag.

Arizona 32 Philadelphia 25.

Baltimore and Pittsburgh next.....

Less than 30 minutes before the Australian Open to begin. Now, I am completely gone as I will go back and watch TC preview show:)

Posted by 01/18/2009 at 06:34 PM

Thanks, Andrew, for the enlightening context, gosh.... well, so who drew the first blood, or is it too early to tell? ;o

Crazy, Sam et al, boo hoo, my heart goes out to you.... wow, Rogi on my tele, finally! Justin G. still around after all that brouhaha...?

Posted by rafadoc 01/18/2009 at 06:34 PM

Justin G is a dork..."he is tired" "he is banged up" in regards to Rafa....wtf?

Posted by Whitney 01/18/2009 at 06:35 PM

Ah to be at my parents' house right now. They get those 5 extra court coverage channels courtesy of Dish Network. Remember summer when I was home with the parents and had like 7 channels of tennis coverage? Good times.

Posted by TennisRone 1000 01/18/2009 at 06:36 PM

TOUGH loss for the Eagles. The end of the line for Andy Reid and McNabb? They desesrve better....but this could be it.

This next game should be an absolute war.

Until later all! I hope to be back and commenting further.

Posted by TennisRone 1000 01/18/2009 at 06:37 PM

Tangi.....you know I can't root for the Eagles....

I hope to chat later all!

Posted by sblily (Vamos Ferru!) 01/18/2009 at 06:37 PM

What channel is the AO preview show on? Here in CA, ESPN is airing a dog show.

Posted by siggy 01/18/2009 at 06:37 PM

Don Juan, the seat is yours, so red wine it is.. well, will bubbly do as well? ;) The constant Lincoln reference is indeed interesting, I hear Obama has been good news to the publishing industry, if not exactly (yet) to the banking sector! ;)

Posted by Sherlock 01/18/2009 at 06:38 PM

TR, good to see you again. :)

Rafadoc, indeed. :) When I saw Justin was coming, I turned the channel. Can't stomach that guy.

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