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A Dispatch From Fan-land 03/25/2009 - 5:00 PM

Vera Hat tip to Montana Nick McCarvel, our former Tennis magazine intern and now a full-fledged blogger, who wrote to me about midway through the BNP Paribas Open to barrack for one of his favorite WTA players. I must say, I wonder how one becomes a Vera Zvonareva fan (not that there's anything wrong with that!). It's just that. . . well, there are so many WTA players out there, bringing such diverse talents, personalities, resumes and personal histories.

Such are the mysteries of fandom, I suppose. But I have to hand it to Nick, he sure called this one. Here's what he wrote:

Hey Pete-

I couldn’t help but get all worked up about Vera Zvonareva’s run at Indian Wells. Here are some of my thoughts about the topsy-turvy Russian and her potentially bright future. . .

On Wednesday of last week, an article that ran in The New York Times about the resurgence of Roger Federer in Indian Wells ended with this nonchalant, but telling paragraph: Vera Zvonareva, a Russian ranked No. 6, on Wednesday reached the semis by dismissing the precocious Dane, Carolina Wozniacki, 6-4, 6-4, before a nearly empty main court.

Empty courts are something that Zvonareva is used to. She’s also used to end-of-story blurbs, passing comments by seasoned tennis fans (“Oh yeah, Vera…”) and a less glamorous tennis lifestyle than top stars. She’s always been the bridesmaid to Maria (and Svetlana and Dinara and Elena…). But, she’s suddenly becoming a player who deserves full courts – full stadium courts – and should be put on the radar – everyone’s radar.

There are two distinct Grand Slam moments seared in my mind when it comes to Vera. The first is my image of the elated Russian teen, wearing a tight yellow Adidas visor, pumping her fist after a dramatic three-set win over Venus at the 2003 French. The second is drastically different: a torn and troubled Vera, fighting back tears in the first round of the 2006 Australian Open while being methodically picked apart by a resurgent Martina Hingis.

Two very different images from two very different points in her career.

But this year, as Zvonareva continues her resurgence, that Roland Garros moment from nearly six years ago may become more common than the one in Melbourne - especially if Vera continues to play the steady, confident tennis she exhibited this week in Indian Wells.

I guess you could say that Vera has re-arrived. She reached the title match of last year's year-end WTA championships (losing to Venus after tearing through Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic and  Elena Dementieva -  all in three setters. And Vera has  opened this year with a sizzling 18-2 record - including her first-ever Grand Slam semifinal, a title in Pattaya City and a now a big-event win at Indian Wells.

A lot happened for - and presumably, to - Vera between that moment on Court Suzanne Lenglen in 2003 and last Saturday. There was that series of injuries in ’05 and ’06, a public emotional meltdown, who knows what other form of turmoil. At one point she talked of quitting tennis.

The women’s tennis tour hasn’t always been about comebacks. Sure, there’s been Monica and Jennifer, and most recently, Lindsay – but when a player like Zvonareva surges into the Top 20 before her 20th birthday and then begins to fade, she usually floats around the Top 40 to 100 before disintegrating into oblivion. And that's what makes Vera unique. She'll be dangerous when the French Open rolls around. She may be the most reliable, heavy-hitting Moscovite of the bunch – and it’s a tough crew to compete with.

So here’s my thought, Pete: It’s all about confidence. Vera has been through it all, and now, her game is clicking. More important though, her confidence is brimming. In a sense, she’s stolen the momentum that Jankovic has last fall and has tucked it under her visor’s brim and is saving it for the big ones. She’s paid her dues on tour for over eight years, and is blooming. Her game -  and her mind – are ready to handle it all.

Do you think she’s got a shot at the French? She’s always given the Williams sisters trouble on clay, and while Maria hates the stuff and the Serbians have their own issues to deal with, maybe we should quit talking about Vera, the empty-court player and start talking about Vera, the Grand Slam contender.

-- Nick

Well, Nick, far be it from me to be the buzz-kill here. I think what Vera has done is terrific, and she has plenty of game. But two other factors come into play here: Vera's history, and difference between Grand Slam events and all other tournaments, including premier mandatory tournaments - especially when the full deck of cards isn't being dealt. You saw that the Williams sisters weren't at Indian Wells; that counts for something. In fact, it counts for a lot. I know who I'd choose if I had to pick between Serena Williams and Ivanovic as a final-round opponent. Still, all credit to Vera. She had a great tournament. But to me it has the earmarks of a career run, rather than a career-transforming moment, although I'm not ruling out the latter possibility.

The other factor here is the status of the majors. Vera's history of emotional turbulence is not a terribly encouraging sign when you think about the qualitative difference between the majors and all other tournaments. Although that performance down under was impressive, this is a girl with just one previous Grand Slam quarter to her name, and that was in Paris, 2003. You need a competitive fifth-gear to fight through week 1, and she hasn't demonstrated that she's got one. And beyond that, week 2 is an entirely different event, with increased pressure. It demands different, superior mental and emotional responses. Maybe she absorbed enough experience on that front in Melbourne, we'll have to see.

One thing you look for in these scenarios is consistency. On that front, you're on the right track. Vera has been very consistent this year, and I'll take two consistent months over a flashy tournament win or two any day of the week. We all saw what happened to Dinara Safina last year, starting in the spring. Vera could pull off something similar, although I'm not sure she has enough help (coaching and advice-wise) to navigate the obstacles. But one thing that might help is an adequate sense of opportunism. I've never seen a more vulnerable looking collection of "top players" in WTA history, which suggests that anything is possible - for anyone. Besides, there's no stigma to crying in tennis anymore, right?

-- Pete

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Posted by GVGirl 03/25/2009 at 05:13 PM

First, Thanks to twitter!

Posted by Crazy-for-Rog 03/25/2009 at 05:17 PM

"Besides, there's no stigma to crying in tennis anymore, right?" Is that why people just won't quit taking digs at Federer for his "monumental breakdown" in Oz?

Posted by Yummy Prince Fed - Still my heartbeat 03/25/2009 at 05:20 PM

Second or am I third.

Posted by Yummy Prince Fed - Still my heartbeat 03/25/2009 at 05:24 PM

@CrazyforRog: I just sort of ignored that little dig.
Onwards - I like Vera, but I really do not think she has what it takes to win a major. Clearly we have all forgotten that during the season ending championships last year, she had one of the worst breakdowns that I have ever witnessed by a player (and yes that includes Roger at this year's AO). Vera was on the court (and I mean she laid there), smashing her racquets while her body was racked with deep sobs emanating from her while Venus picked her game apart with her blistering ground strokes, her powerful serve, and her forays to the net to put away volleys. Poor Vera got bagelled in the second set and I think won 2 games in the deciding set. On Sunday when she played Ana, in the second game of the first set she smashed her racquet and luckily for her she was dealing with an opponent who is trying to come to terms with her game. She played good tennis to combat the wind and she won. Kudos to her, but I just cannot see her taking on one of the stalwarts of the game especially at a major when they themselves are trying to make history

Posted by greenhopper 03/25/2009 at 05:29 PM

Nick, thanks so much for the post. Love it. Don't put too much pressure on the casper. We should just let it all play out.

Posted by great gams 03/25/2009 at 05:34 PM

i do think the draw goddess would have to be in Vera's corner for her to make it to the winner's circle at a slam. but that's not impossible. not these days. if Venus and Serena get bumped early at the French, Vera's steady game might play her through the draw.

what impressed me most about the Indian Wells win was Vera's ability to improvise. after the first 2 games she looked a mess and i was expecting tears. but she pulled it together and played an incredibly smart match. her nerves got the better of her when she was ahead but after all was said and done she had more imagination and initiative than Ivanovic. and that's what grand slam champions are made of.

Posted by Master Ace 03/25/2009 at 05:37 PM

Neil and Pete,
My questions for Vera are the following:
(a) Will she be emotionally flat after winning Indian Wells? If she makes it to the quarterfinals against Serena, I will say that she has succeeded.
(b) Will she win the Transcontinetal Slam in 2 weeks? I say she loses to Serena in the quarterfinals. However, she has shown that she can play with the top players(ie - Doha). If she was to win Key Biscayne, you will have to put her in the same sentence with the Williams Sisters, her fellow Russians, and Serbians as contenders for the French Open. I have already put Vera in that sentence due to her run in Doha, Melbourne, and Indian Wells.

I may have more to add once I get home from my day job.

Posted by tommy 03/25/2009 at 05:48 PM

Zvonareva seems much more consistent now. Maybe like Myskina, Vera can have a French Open with a good draw and some steady play.
She's certainly getting paid. The YEC final was about $800,000. And so was two IW titles. Plus the Melbourne semis

Posted by Pspace 03/25/2009 at 06:01 PM

I find Zvonoreva to be one of the more watchable players on WTA. It's curious that she's the ignored one. A particularly entertaining shot of hers is a disguised flat serve up the T, where she tosses it behind her head like a kicker and then leaps backwards and smacks it flat, almost falling over in the process. She came up big in the important moments in the SF against Azarenka. So, I agree that the mind seems to be in place. But will it matter (in the slams)?

Posted by Aussiemarg{Madame President in Comma Rehab in 2009} 03/25/2009 at 06:10 PM

Vera to me has really found her recipe for success.

Playing good consistant tennis.

Her great reslts at IW is a testament to that.

Confidence breeds success.

Vera has a great game on the clay.

Might be the One to watch at RG 09

Posted by SASSY 03/25/2009 at 06:19 PM


Posted by C Note (welcome back, Baby E) 03/25/2009 at 06:29 PM

I love me some Vera. My sense is that she still doesn't *truly* believe in herself but a solid run at Key Biscayne could get her there. If anything, I think she's too smart and intelligent to drink her own kool-aid if you know what I mean. I'll always envy Serena in that regard. She believes it irrespective of what's going on.

Very solid win for her in IW. But honestly, no wind and Ana wins that match. And I'm not saying that as a KAD. The kid's shots were clicking. What should have been winners that Vera framed out of bounds were brought back in bounds by the wind. Frustrating.

But Vera's wins over Vika, Woz, and Na Li can't be denied. That's some solid work, especially over the red hot Vika. Vera just broke her down. I think she's a very underrated tactician.

Anyway, thanks for the post on Vera, Pete.

Posted by rafadoc 03/25/2009 at 07:11 PM

Thanks for the post on Vera. This, from Master Ace, is a good question, imo:

(a) Will she be emotionally flat after winning Indian Wells? If she makes it to the quarterfinals against Serena, I will say that she has succeeded.

Emotional players can go flat after a huge win like that. Hope she doesn't...I really like her. She is a unique character. Agreed, MA....getting to the qualies would be "success". And, if she does that....she will have good momentum.

Posted by rafadoc 03/25/2009 at 07:13 PM

btw: I think the hampster that keeps the page- turning wheel going for typepad may have died on the other thread. R.I.P.

Posted by Syd 03/25/2009 at 07:24 PM

Thanks Pete, and thanks to Nick McCarvel—that was an enjoyable read.

I'm a fan of Vera's, but I agree, cannot see her prevailing over Serena or Venus, no way, no how...they are simply too strong. A lot of the sister's dominance has to do with their size and strength, and at a certain level of the game, those factors seem to matter more on the women's side than on the men's for some reason.

Go Vera! And Go Dinara! Would flove to see either one of you win RG.

Posted by Emma (insertwittymantrahere) 03/25/2009 at 07:48 PM

Thanks to both Pedro and Nick.

Im not even sure the reason, but i really like Vera. I think it may be an underdog thing, and from what I've read in her pressers, she's a witty and engaging lady too, so as far as im concerned, Davai Bepa! I think I'd even go as far as saying that after JJ, Bepa is my fave WTA baller.

Posted by waylandboy 03/25/2009 at 07:48 PM

I agree with you on this Pete. Vera is a nice player but let's see how she does with a full deck as you say. Serena, Venus, Maria, etc. all weren't at the tournaments this year that she won. She did OK at Paris but that's been par for the course for her.

Posted by Ray T. 03/25/2009 at 08:04 PM

Of course Vera can win a Slam like Roland Garros if Ivanovic was able to do it last year when Slam champions like Henin, Sharapova and the Williams sisters were either retired or all out by the 4th round...DUH !

Posted by Ren-former ( More than what meets the eye) 03/25/2009 at 08:20 PM

Hmmm...this is something nice. Talking about lonely and empty courts for players who are not stars, but who are capable. Vera, the queen of empty courts, sounds even lonelier when you say it! Getting used to it would mean finding it difficult to stand before crowds who can even get rowdy at times. A factor perhaps why she hasn't won a slam! Nevertheless, Vera is slowly but surely proving herself as a power who cannot be easily dismissed! But a slam seems far from reality.

Posted by Bismarck 03/25/2009 at 08:48 PM

given that her game is actually quite well-rounded it is indeed a bit surprising how lil credit bepa usually gets.
then again, she never won even one measly tierII (!) title before IW 09 despite her game, so that is kinda telling too... no results, no glory i suppose.

can´t say i´m a fan, but she´ll always have a place in my heart for being part of *that* 1st round match at the AO2006.

the only slam where i could *kinda* see bepa having a chance for sneaking away with the title are the FO.
and even there... i think *much* has to go her way. but that´s true for almost every women at the FO this year i think, jajaja.

Posted by Mirka+1 03/25/2009 at 08:57 PM

Great points Nick! Glad to see you back in action.

Posted by Samantha Elin 03/25/2009 at 09:05 PM

Glad Bepa won IW, but I would strongly disagree with anyone who says she's a slam contender even on the clay. I always find it amazing that a player has one good run, and they are the next big thing. Remember even the likes of Stevenson and Kournikova made it to the semi of Wimbledon. Any player can go on a streak and do well at one tourney. The weakness of both her first and second serve prevent her from being a strong slam contender. Part of the reason why Ana won the FO last year was because her serve was so good and her forehand. Bepa has neither weapon but good luck to her. She has come a long way from the player who used to crack me up with her melt downs on the court. Go Caro, Scandinavia's#1!

Posted by Samantha Elin 03/25/2009 at 09:07 PM

Also, with all due respect, there are so many players like both Williamses and Sharapova who are better players, so I don't see it.

Posted by Samantha Elin 03/25/2009 at 09:17 PM

Just wanted to add that with the exception of Myskina who won the FO about 5 years ago, can anyone think of one player with a weak serve who has won a slam recently? It's extremely rare. Go Caro, Scandinavia's#1!

Posted by Samantha Elin 03/25/2009 at 09:24 PM

The FO is tricky because I can see a scenario where the Williamses, Sharapova are gone by the first week, and JJ is such a hot mess, she could go out in the first round, and it wouldn't surprise me. So who knows, but still Bepa has a GS champion would be a surprise.

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 03/25/2009 at 09:28 PM

I'm in Nick's camp, and have a difficult time picturing Vewra plaing before an empty house. She's cute, tough, and can hit the ball with ferocity.

In the women's game, even more so than in the men's game, confidence rules. Show me a confident woman player, and I'll show you someone who is about to go on a winning streak.


Beth: Thanks. I didn't think so.

Posted by Tim (Starbucks Happy Pot Stirrer) 03/26/2009 at 12:15 AM

womens tennis IS about confidnece.its why Serena can show up after a 6 month break and win a Slam, because she scares the hell out of all the other women....Richard W taught his aughters one essential thing beyond hitting a ball... NO ONE is better than you in life...

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 03/26/2009 at 03:45 AM

Yay! Some Vera love. ;)

She played well all through the autumn, too, after the USO, didn't she? I seem to remember a whole string of finals that she lost to Jelena Jankovic...(oh, Jelena, come back to us! There'll be doubt, hesitation and pain...but fight on well, and you'll get there...)

It's a reasonable point about Maria and the Williams sisters, but, sadly, who knows when Maria will come back? (I miss her so much!) And, it's not as if Serena and Venus don't occasionally put in surprising losses at the slams. They don't automatically show up and get to the second weeks/win the whole thing. They can, but they don't always, so...*shrugs* If Vera does win the FO without having to beat them because they lost earlier, are we going to have endless "She didn't beat Serena so it doesn't really count," comments?

"She has come a long way from the player who used to crack me up with her melt downs on the court." - yeah, it's so amusing watching people break down right in front of you. Sometimes I actually hate watching tennis or snooker or any other sport when you have so much focus on a player unravelling under pressure. But then...without that, you wouldn't get the heights of overcoming it, so...

Why is anyone a true fan of anyone? I can list all the reasons I have for my Rafadoration (and frequently do but will spare everyone this time, LOL) but it still doesn't really explain the why.

"Besides, there's no stigma to crying in tennis anymore, right?" - I read that as a wry dig at the endless reporting/discussion of the ceremony, not as a swipe at Feddy, for what that's worth.

Russ - your moniker makes me laugh; I actually have nightmares about Isner taking out Rafa in the second round of Wimbledon. (Thank you for that suggestion, Pete. LOL.)

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 03/26/2009 at 03:48 AM

Oh yeah - agreed about the difference between Slams and other tournaments. I think Murray demonstrated that quite clearly, virus or not, at the AO.

Hopefully he can have a reasonable run at Wimbledon and do well at the USO (I have no hope for him for the French at all.)

Posted by svelterogue 03/26/2009 at 04:51 AM

hello pete and neil, and other tw'ers i have dearly missed in a looong time (esp bissy and samantha e).

my serbians are languishing for god knows how long... did jelena's wardrobe and muscle change affect her tennis?

as for vera, although i started the match cheering for ana and her ubiquitous ajde's and fist pumps, i ended enjoying vera's win in those gusty conditions. smooth, level-headed, calm as you please.

i wish i could throw in more heart-pumping love but i'll see how she does over the spring.

come on jelena, get back on your lovely legs once more! :)

Posted by svelterogue 03/26/2009 at 04:53 AM

then kim c returns this summer... am still waiting for her presser. y'all over there in europe, i'm assuming her press conference begins sometime around noon? or after? if noon, i have a whisker of a chance to get the 'breaking news' but if it's later, my reaction will be delayed until the morrow.

Posted by linz 03/26/2009 at 05:23 AM

Great post Pete- I must admit that I always got her confused in my mind with a lot of the other Russians, but I always like it when a quiet player sneaks to the top every now and then. She kind-of reminds me of a Koyla of the WTA....and I like Koyla so I consider that a compliment =) It's great to have dominating players, but it's also nice to spread the wealth every once in a while!

Posted by mina (Rafa FTW) 03/26/2009 at 07:29 AM

LOL at Russ' moniker... AM, still around? i left you a post in the KB CC day 1

Posted by mina (Rafa FTW) 03/26/2009 at 07:31 AM

> did jelena's wardrobe and muscle change affect her tennis?

methinks yes on this one... though its not the only reason for the slumptastic display of late...i wanna see her get solid wins throught the clay season, but that'll only happen if her game finally gets with the program

Posted by naughty T, got my own corner! 03/26/2009 at 08:01 AM

Former world number one Kim Clijsters has announced that she will return to the WTA Tour in August.
"I have asked for wildcards for Cincinnatti, Toronto and US Open," said the 25-year-old. "That's all for now. I want to see if I can still do it."

so very very happy with that news.

Posted by embug 03/26/2009 at 08:01 AM

Vera cannot be underestimated. However, I'm caught by the suggestion from Pete that IW wasn't really the #5 Grand Slam because the Williams' sisters didn't/won't/can't play. I agree to a point. There was something missing at IW, on the women's side. So, of course, Zvonareva's title becomes subject to an assumption that if the Williams' sisters had played she probably wouldn't have that crystal tower in her hands. That could be true, give their match records.

I was, though, quite impressed by her ability to center herself and move from point to point at IW. She seemed more like Henin, then other players; and, I consider Henin a benchmark champion by which to measure potential future women champions. Vera may digress in her career; however, I was certain she would beat Ivanovic last Sunday because of her temperament and her growth in maturity on court.

I want to see someone take the bait that's being dangled in front of any one top-20 woman pro. Venus and Serena are the threat, as is Maria. However, the Williamses don't seem committed to their game of the game of tennis. Maria will be back with a vengence. If Zvonareva can move quickly and gain more confidence, she will be more of a threat in Paris.

Time will tell. It always does.

Posted by Master Ace 03/26/2009 at 08:27 AM

"If Vera does win the FO without having to beat them because they lost earlier, are we going to have endless "She didn't beat Serena so it doesn't really count," comments? "

Unfortunately, yes those comments will be out there but when Ana won last year, we did not hear them at all since she made the finals in the prior year.

Posted by KimFan 03/26/2009 at 09:03 AM

I see that Cincy will be her first tournament.

Posted by embug 03/26/2009 at 09:10 AM

Master Ace... I hope we don't endlessly compare Vera's accomplishments with the Williamses -- because they're out of a draw or didn't play the tournament or are injured. I hope that comparison doesn't surface with any player, but because of Venus's and Serena's dominance we might have to read those comments until the wind goes out of the sails.

It'd help a great deal if the sisters would just commit and play. But how attached are we to the drama?

Posted by Master Ace 03/26/2009 at 10:06 AM

Think we are attached to the drama more than we think about the WTA.

Posted by Rosangel 03/26/2009 at 10:17 AM

All - please talk here until today's Crisis Center appears. TypePad seems to have given up the ghost on the last post.

Posted by Master Ace 03/26/2009 at 10:18 AM

Hope this situation will get resolved as the weekend approaches. Think there is going to be a lot of traffic on Saturday as the matches will finally be on TV and streams.

Posted by embug 03/26/2009 at 10:18 AM

Drama accelerates the range and magnitude of opinions, and, thus the blogoshere grows. Everybody, let's dance!

Posted by Syd (Roger - Double Award Winner) 03/26/2009 at 10:20 AM

embug; how cute. :)

Posted by Marian wtg Rafa!!! 03/26/2009 at 10:22 AM

AM: I'm all for Rafa not flirting, but please tell that to the chicks that meet him, not me :)

As for your tapes, try DVDs (I've bought a Sony HQ VCR- DVD recorder combo from ebay, cheap, just to transfer my tapes and also to record new TV shows; i.e. I got Fedex on some DVD now).

Posted by Marian wtg Rafa!!! 03/26/2009 at 10:23 AM

So Rafa starts playing singles only Saturday?

Posted by Aussiemarg{Madame President in Comma Rehab in 2009} 03/26/2009 at 10:26 AM

Hello found everyone phew having a meltdown lol!

Syd No I tape all Rafa's matches,the tape machine refused to rewind then started to eat up my tape.Hubby being a engineer is on to it.

Posted by Rosangel 03/26/2009 at 10:27 AM

I have never met Rafa, so this is not something I would have a useful opinion on.

Posted by Master Ace 03/26/2009 at 10:28 AM

I would think so for Rafael schedule. If you go by their schedule for the tournament, doubles start on Sunday.

Posted by Syd (Roger - Double Award Winner) 03/26/2009 at 10:29 AM


Yes! I realized after I posted what it was! Glad Hubby rode to the rescue.
That's why I loathe tape of any kind. Even Scotch tape.

Posted by rafadoc 03/26/2009 at 10:30 AM

>AM: I'm all for Rafa not flirting, but please tell that to the chicks that meet him, not me :)

It takes two, no?

Go Potito and Simone!

Posted by Aussiemarg{Madame President in Comma Rehab in 2009} 03/26/2009 at 10:30 AM

Marian Dont worry I am looking at equipment now for same thing.

I always get Rafa Grand Slam victories on DVD even though I tape first.Actually this is the 1st time this has happened.

Posted by Syd (Roger - Double Award Winner) 03/26/2009 at 10:30 AM

Rosangel: but you did get awfully close in a hallway.

Posted by rafadoc 03/26/2009 at 10:31 AM

Marian...Rafa's singles is scheduled for 8PM TW time. Not sure about dubs yet.

Posted by naughty T, got my own corner! 03/26/2009 at 10:31 AM

WTF??? where are we meant to hang out?? here??
Wow Rrrrrrrrrraffa looks seriously Rrrrrrough in those player party pics, looking kinda scrawny too.
Interesting thing about being number one, means you generally have to play all the way til the end of the tournament.
Five years of that might take a toll, no?

Posted by rafadoc 03/26/2009 at 10:31 AM

*Saturday @ 8PM

Posted by Marian wtg Rafa!!! 03/26/2009 at 10:31 AM

AM: Get DVDs or a HD/PVR.

Roseangel: Maybe in the future then? :)

MA: Thanks, but doubles seem to be scheduled for Friday though...

Posted by Aussiemarg{Madame President in Comma Rehab in 2009} 03/26/2009 at 10:32 AM

Does anyone know where Miss Ana resides these days?

gee Rafadoc you should know this seing you are trying to off load Miss Anna onto Rafa?

Posted by naughty T, got my own corner! 03/26/2009 at 10:32 AM

AM please call your cat Slumdog. it would be too funny.

Posted by rafadoc 03/26/2009 at 10:33 AM

nT: Thought the same thing...never think of Rafa as "small" but he looks it in those pics. Hott Sauce looks hideous, but proud. Weird.

Posted by Marian wtg Rafa!!! 03/26/2009 at 10:33 AM

TY Rafadoc!!!

TC might show it then according to the TV schedule tab here.

Posted by Aussiemarg{Madame President in Comma Rehab in 2009} 03/26/2009 at 10:34 AM

Master Ace Will there be live streams for matches at Miami later this week please?

Posted by rafadoc 03/26/2009 at 10:35 AM

Marian....I am thinking it may be on TC too.

AM: Ana has a home in Mallorca (hee) and Basel, I believe.

Posted by Aussiemarg{Madame President in Comma Rehab in 2009} 03/26/2009 at 10:35 AM

NT I will pass on that name thanks lol!

Posted by naughty T, got my own corner! 03/26/2009 at 10:36 AM

AM has lots of names.
Just found out Arun means sun...and oddly that Ashank means faith. Oh yes I have faith in that shanky old quasiGOAT

Posted by rafadoc 03/26/2009 at 10:39 AM

AM: I vote for slumdog too....funny! And, I just checked...Ana has had a home in Basel for some time and bought a home in Mallorca a few months ago.

Posted by naughty T, got my own corner! 03/26/2009 at 10:39 AM

Fravash Guardian Angel
Hemen The King of Gold
Hiresh King of precious stones
Jagesh Lord of the Universe

Posted by Aussiemarg{Madame President in Comma Rehab in 2009} 03/26/2009 at 10:39 AM

I didnt know that Maria Kirilenko was one of Maria Sharapova's best friends.

Gee I didnt think any of her fellow Russian players cared for her much at all.After the goings on in the Rusian Fed Cup teams over the years.

She must of sent them freebies from her many sponsors she has.

Posted by Master Ace 03/26/2009 at 10:40 AM

ATP streaming should start Saturday at either 10 or 11 AM TW(1 or 2 AM Sydney).

Posted by Aussiemarg{Madame President in Comma Rehab in 2009} 03/26/2009 at 10:40 AM

NT thanks for that.

Posted by rafadoc 03/26/2009 at 10:41 AM

Not a good start...Bolelli just got broken. Curses.

Posted by naughty T, got my own corner! 03/26/2009 at 10:43 AM

Nilesh The dark lord; Lord Krishna
Roshan Illumination
Saumya Handsome
Taj Crown; Jewel
Zaahir Bright; Shining

a selection of some I like

Posted by Aussiemarg{Madame President in Comma Rehab in 2009} 03/26/2009 at 10:44 AM

Rafadoc Jackpot!!!

Adam Scott resides in Switzerland also just finished reading a story on him

The plot thickens dosent it? No wonder she has been following our boy around on the gold course all day?

The word on the street is still very much Adam Scott though everyone is still in denial.

Posted by Sandra 03/26/2009 at 10:45 AM

It takes a man to cry over losing before crying in tennis became accepted. Somehow it's always about them.

Posted by Rosangel 03/26/2009 at 10:45 AM

Bombay cats do not come from India. In Australia they are descended from American Bombays - i.e. originally a cross between a black domestic shorthair and a Burmese.

Posted by embug 03/26/2009 at 10:46 AM

Syd... would you care to waltz? Or, are you more of a modern man, like... a mosh pit "dancer." OMG, I hope that's right. And you now know that I've never moshed; and, quite honestly I don't waltz much either but if you hum a couple bars I'm in!

Posted by Aussiemarg{Madame President in Comma Rehab in 2009} 03/26/2009 at 10:46 AM

Master Ace Thanks for that.Still checking here with regards to Fox Sports pay tv to see when they will start their live coverege.

Posted by rafadoc 03/26/2009 at 10:48 AM

AM: The plot does thicken, no? Remember Rafa showing her around his beloved island last a house....just sayin'. Interesting about Adam Scott too. Ana is a strategic girl. :)

Posted by Aussiemarg{Madame President in Comma Rehab in 2009} 03/26/2009 at 10:48 AM

Rosangel Thanks for that info,I was told different I know thry are from the Burmese side.Well I dont need a Indian name then.

Posted by naughty T, got my own corner! 03/26/2009 at 10:50 AM

I believe AM asked for Indian names, so Indian names she gets
Still goes to prove that TS.Elliot was right.

The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there's the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey--
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter--
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that's particular,
A name that's peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum-
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there's still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover--
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.

Posted by naughty T, got my own corner! 03/26/2009 at 10:51 AM

let me just say Bolls to that.
ugh bye bye bracket

Posted by Jackie 03/26/2009 at 10:52 AM

BOL! Channel your hot shirtlessness and tattooness and win this thing!

Morning, folks. :)

Posted by Sandra 03/26/2009 at 10:53 AM

Where did you guys see the Miami player party pics?

Posted by Vie 03/26/2009 at 10:53 AM

naughty, LOL. luv' ya.

Posted by Syd (Roger - Double Award Winner) 03/26/2009 at 10:53 AM

Embug: i'm of the feminine persuasion, kinda cranky, and not very modern.

Posted by Aussiemarg{Madame President in Comma Rehab in 2009} 03/26/2009 at 10:53 AM

NT You must be drunk!!! LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by white line fever 03/26/2009 at 10:53 AM

naughty - Ashank is such an awesome find. Way to steer the cat name search back on topic! Of course, since then you seem to have careened off the road again... ;-P

Sandra - I always thought Martina (Nav)'s crying after her GS losses was very humanizing and only made me like her more. Same with Novotna (gawd help me), et al.

Posted by naughty T, got my own corner! 03/26/2009 at 10:56 AM

Don't you wish that Eduardo would change his name to Ashank??
Ashank Schwank... now there is poetry.

Posted by rafadoc 03/26/2009 at 10:56 AM

Sandra...the party pics are sort of scattered throughout the forty deuce site: Here is a start:

Posted by Syd (Roger - Double Award Winner) 03/26/2009 at 10:57 AM

No, Eduardo is perfect. "Eduardo, you may kiss me, boy."

Posted by rafadoc 03/26/2009 at 10:59 AM

What the heck Bols? Focus...and win this set now. Potato is hanging in there at 5-5. Oh, the stress of it all.

Posted by Aussiemarg{Madame President in Comma Rehab in 2009} 03/26/2009 at 11:01 AM

I love the name Eduardo? gee that would make a great cats name wouldnt it?

Eduardo the Bombay cat.

Eduardo and Cleopatra

Cleopatra and Eduardo?mmmmmmmmmmmm.

Posted by Syd (Roger - Double Award Winner) 03/26/2009 at 11:04 AM

AM: Yes. Eduardo is a great cat's name. Or, a horse's name. But not really a dog's name. strange, eh?

Posted by rafadoc 03/26/2009 at 11:04 AM

Sorry Sandra-not sure that link worked....I will try will have to scroll down to see the party pics.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 03/26/2009 at 11:05 AM

AM: on the other thread i suggested Ramses, to stay with the egyptian pharoh theme. whaddya think?

Posted by Marian wtg Rafa!!! 03/26/2009 at 11:07 AM

Naughty: While Rafa has been already playing more then most (i.e. I think he played like 30% more then Murray last year), I agree with you that it might be problematic for him to continue to do so at high level for five more years...

That's something I've been trying to tell his KADs, especially the ones that just want ...more. lol All of those that fantasize about him and so on.

I.e. playing doubles may not be always beneficial, not changing surfaces in a couple of days (from DC on clay to hc in IW).

As history teaches us (well the ones smart enough to pay attention, not the screaming KADs), he's always been either exhausted or injured by the time USO comes (same goes for Masters' final); so better planning might be in order.

And of course ATP should try to improve the schedule (i.e. the clay events are too cramped as Rafa "proved" last year that it was impossible even for him to play them, when he got those blisters and lost to Ferrero in Rome, correct?)

Posted by rafadoc 03/26/2009 at 11:07 AM

Simone coming on strong 3-0. Potato in a TB...yikes!

I like Eduardo too. Still....Slumdog ftw!

Posted by rafadoc 03/26/2009 at 11:08 AM

Marian...KAD does not equal stupid, kay?

Posted by Aussiemarg{Madame President in Comma Rehab in 2009} 03/26/2009 at 11:09 AM

I still like my original name of Rhogan until NT told me it meant clarfied butter which really turned me off.

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