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The Lonely Coach (WCC, Day 12) 07/04/2009 - 8:26 AM


by Pete Bodo

Mornin', everyone, and a fine one it is again.

A few days ago, I had an interesting conversation with Sven Groeneveld, who heads up the novel and productive Adidas group coaching effort. Sven has coached an impressive list of outstanding players, including Mary Pierce, Michael Stich, Nathalie Dechy, Greg Rusedski, Fernando Verdasco and, most recently,  Ana Ivanovic. BTW, Ana is back with the Adidas program after a patchy experience with Craig Kardon (formerly Martina Navratilova's coach). And Darren Cahill has joined Gil Reyes, that other member of team Agassi, on the Adidas coaching roster. Those are Cahill, Reyes and Groeneveld (L to R) in this photo.

It turns out that Sven and our mutual friend, tennis insider Lisa Sommermeier, had both read the on-again, off-again series I started on coaching (it makes me think I ought to continue it), in which I wondered why tennis coaches - who run the gamut from manipulative opportunists with precious little to offer  to distinguished Grand Slam enablers - didn't have some kind of official organization, or registry. I can think of a dozen ways in which an official organization, like the players, tournaments, umpires, and even press already has (and let's not forget that strong organization of teaching pros, the USPTR), would be a welcome addition to the growing infrastructure of our sport.

It turns out that Sven had been thinking along the same lines, and he already has an interactive website that functions as a virtual employment agency for coaches. It's called The big news Sven wanted to share with me is that this is merely Stage 1 of a 2 stage effort - the second part will consist of creating a formal organization or registry of coaches. It will not only help coaches and players find each other, but also give coaches, those lone operators, an organization that will set guidelines, create opportunities (like sponsorship deals), and give coaches the backing of the same kind of official, institutional voice that others can fall back on in times of need.

To pick a simple example, right now any charge of inappropriate behavior of any kind against a coach is simply a "he said, she/he said" affair, and who would want to be the coach in that scenario - especially if it were one of the all too common partnerships of a young female player and an older male coach?  Moreover, the WTA commitment to on-court coaching means that coaches could potentially supplement their income with sponsorship deals on a less haphazard basis. "I was never for the on-court coaching experiment," Sven told me. "But it's here and there's no reason not to take advantage of it."

Largely, though, Sven sees "job security" as the most critical issue for coaches. He points out that coaches come and go randomly, usually at the mercy of the players for whom they work. When that player retires, or moves on, the coach is back at Square One. He or she has no real way beyond networking and personal salesmanship of staying in the game. "Not too many coaches stay in the game for more than five years," Sven said. "I want to try to find a way to enable legitimate coaches to stay in the game. For example, if the player I've coached for three years decides to move on, right now I don't even have access to my workplace - the tournaments. If we had a certification process, the members of our registry could stay in the game and enjoy the same benefits as other tennis professionals."

A registry would also enable the organization to police its membership and even institutionalize the background checks that are a reasonable burden. Sven objected to the heavy-handed way the official game instituted its intrusive background checks in a panicked response to abuse and gambling scandals, but has no problem with the basic concept. "It would be part of a general certification process that would take place in stages," Sven said. "People would know what the system expects and get comfortable with it."

Sven also noted that academies, representation firms, and even manufacturers (like Adidas) have increasingly close ties to coaches, and use them in increasingly inventive and diverse wasy (as scouts, for example). The coaches need to be better informed on everything from the available opportunities to the general task-by-task pay scale.

I think this plan will work, partly because sponsors already have greater grasp of inventive ways to use coaches. The coaches are not only vital to the players on-court success, they're an increasingly significant go-between with other wings of the game, like the media. And a coach is a pipeline to a player. I've learned over time that if you have a good relationship with a player's coach, you're more likely to develop the same with a player.

I hope Sven pulls this off.

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Posted by imjimmy 07/04/2009 at 12:06 PM

NP: Thanks.
Dunno about the GOAT business, but If I were to pluck a guy from history to play for my life. I'd pick Pete. A lot of folks(here) would pick Fed I guess, and maybe they would be right. But IMV Pete was the better clutch player.

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 12:07 PM

greenhopper - oh ok. I am just happy at the opportunity to be at home to finally watch on tv so even though I am checking the SB, I am still watching on tv. I still have two more hours to watch before I head out. I hope they cna finish by then although that would mean I will miss the women's doubles.

Posted by Crazy-for-Rog (Roger for the Channel Slam!) 07/04/2009 at 12:09 PM

Nice pic of the formidable adidas trio. Gil Reyes looks like he could use a sports bra !

Posted by evie 07/04/2009 at 12:11 PM

Serena just now:

"I'd rather have won three Grand Slam titles in a year and be #2 than have won none and be #1. Dinara deserves to be #1. She's done really well -- she won Rome and Madrid."

Then she can't hold it in any longer and bursts out in uncontrollable laughter. The room does as well.

oh, man.

Posted by NP 07/04/2009 at 12:12 PM

imjimmy, but not on clay, I hope. :) Now why couldn't he muster the same game against Kafelnikov at the '96 FO that he did so gloriously just half a year ago in the DC finals? Ugh!

Posted by evie 07/04/2009 at 12:13 PM

She tries to make up for it later and says everyone can see how hard Dinara works and that she doesn't mean to pick on anybody.

Still, I hope Dina does not read or listen to this presser.

Posted by greenhopper 07/04/2009 at 12:13 PM

NBC showed the match point when the Brybros won this title 3 years ago playing against Zimonjic and Santoro. All I can say is, good job toning up, Zimo.

Posted by rafadoc 07/04/2009 at 12:14 PM

Have to say all this GOAT talk makes me wish I had paid a bit more attention to tennis during the Sampras era. I came back to watching tennis because of the Spaniard who could challenge Federer. I just can't imagine that Roger is not the GOAT-especially with his FO win, BUT, I am not qualified to comment, not having watched much of Pete (I did read the book though-lol)

Aw- I actually would like to see the Twins win but If Nestor/Zim win I won't be heartbroken.

Posted by jewell - Just say no to Fedal wars! 07/04/2009 at 12:14 PM

Wouldn't it depend on the opponent? Well, maybe not for Pete, LOL.

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 12:14 PM

evie - what was the question Serena was asked?

Posted by NP 07/04/2009 at 12:15 PM

BTW, imjimmy, Bud Collins' pick was (and I believe still is) Pancho Gonzales. The guy was a mean SOB, arguably the fiercest competitor tennis has ever seen. He makes JMac and Connors look like Fed's lapdogs by comparison.

Posted by Crazy-for-Rog (Roger for the Channel Slam!) 07/04/2009 at 12:15 PM

Tim ... are you gravitating to the Roddick camp for the final? Say it isn't so ! You're not going to ditch our boy Rog now, are you?

Posted by evie 07/04/2009 at 12:15 PM

avid -- a question about whether or not the ranking system was fair.

Posted by evie 07/04/2009 at 12:16 PM

and whether or not it bothers her that she's not #1.

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 12:18 PM

And the reporter trying to rope Vee into blamin her knee geez!

Q. You've played on your injured left knee, and you got through six opponents with that left knee. But do you feel against a great opponent like Serena you had mobility problems?

VENUS WILLIAMS: You know, I have no complaints from the beginning and no complaints now. And I still have another Championship match to play. I have no complaints. I had a great tournament. I came close to winning but it didn't happen, and I can't blame it on anything.

Q. Your father was saying that the knee was a bit of a problem, whereas you were playing it down. Was it a problem at any stage? You had the strapping there.

VENUS WILLIAMS: Uhm, like I said before, I have no complaints. Everybody has something they're dealing with. I just have no complaints. You know, I wish I could have done a few things different here and there in this match. But, you know, it was close.

Posted by Veruca Salt (360) 07/04/2009 at 12:18 PM

LOL@ Serena.Is she lying though?

bob & mike have to find a way to break d& z's serve.

Posted by sally 07/04/2009 at 12:18 PM

oh my, serena is just brutal

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 12:19 PM

evie - thanks.

Posted by Arun 07/04/2009 at 12:20 PM

great stats on Winners/UEs, so far..

Bryans - 28/2
N/Z - 43/6

Posted by greenhopper 07/04/2009 at 12:20 PM

awww. Santoro asked JMac if they could play doubles together at the US open. JMac is still thinking about it. THAT would be something.

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 12:21 PM

greenhopper - I heard that too. JMac leftie and Fabrice the Magician would be interesting to behold ;-)

Posted by Tennis Fan 07/04/2009 at 12:21 PM

Avid: Slam RU points is 1,400 and winner points 2,000. Therefore, Serena gains 600 and Venus loses 600. Therefore, Serena's total is 8,758 all your other ranking points are correct.

I still don't understand why ReRe has to have the zero from Charleston in her ranking points since she was injured and did the promo thing. I thought the mandatory zero points rule was for premier mandatory and premier five tournaments.

The zero points is for missed mandatory, 5 and premier 700k commitment tournaments. Charleston was a premier 700k commitment tournament for Serena. The top 10 are required to play two, one in each half of the season. The promo stuff gets you out of fines and a possible suspension but not out of zero point rankings hit. Zvonareva had a legitimate injury but still must carry zero ranking points for Stuttgart, Rome, Madrid and RG until next year which could really hurt her toward the end of the year or the beginning of next year. It's a harsh system. However, Charleston does not effect Serena that much as her next best tournament is 1 point and her second next best is 2 points.

The premier 700k commitment tournaments are:

Paris, Charleston, Stuttgart, Stanford and LA.

Therefore, we should not have any no shows this summer at any of the tournaments.

Serena and Safina also have 1 point for first round loses at a premier 5 tournament - Dubai for Safina and Rome for Serena. They can replace this one with their best performamce at either Cincinnati or Canada and can count the other as the best of the rest. So this may have an impact depending on how each does at these events. Dementieva only needs to win Cincinnati or Canada to defend.

Serena, Venus, Dementieva and Sharapova are all scheduled to play Standford, therefore it is unlikely that Wozniak will defend her win there this year.

Posted by kiwibee 07/04/2009 at 12:21 PM

I can believe they showed the doubles match. Yay!!!!

Posted by Nic 07/04/2009 at 12:21 PM

Anyone watching the men's doubles? There's a man in a fabulous fuschia silky disco collared shirt in the Nestor-Nenad row of the players box.

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 12:22 PM

I love the way Dani and Nenad are serving although Nenad seems to have a few more DFs.

Posted by NP 07/04/2009 at 12:22 PM

Those of U watching NBC and a Web stream, synchronous (read: belated) match-calling would be appreciated for the Yank TV viewers. Thx.

Posted by Arun 07/04/2009 at 12:24 PM

NP: You can't watch it on a stream? Here is one if you can --

Posted by Tennis Fan 07/04/2009 at 12:25 PM

'oh my, serena is just brutal"

And this seems to be what Safina is lacking.

Posted by Matt Zemek 07/04/2009 at 12:25 PM


At Wimbledon, I'd pick Pete to play for me every time.

Other places? Errrrrrrr, ummmmmmmmm......

One of the hard-to-pin-down aspects of a Fed-Sampras comparison is that they rose above the sport in different ways (although the distinction is being blurred, not clarified, in the present day, as Fed enters a new phase of his career).

Sampras possessed quality and longevity, winning young (19) and winning old (31) and everywhere in between. Fed won late (one month short of 22) and hasn't yet hit 30, but he pulled off a burst of concentrated brilliance. Sampras could always be counted on to win one slam a year, but rarely go deep in all four majors, or even the three non-Frenchies. Fed has been consistent at the highest level, but that consistency came at the price of taking longer to grow up and deliver the goods.

Perhaps the parameters of the debate would be better defined if the question was tweaked: "If you had one player IN HIS PRIME to play for your life, who would it be?"

Or, if that question doesn't satisfy, you could tweak it thusly: "If you had one player ON HIS BEST SURFACE/COURT to play for your life, who would it be, and where would the match be played?"

Centre Court - Sampras
Ashe Stadium - Fed
Chatrier - Rafa
Laver Arena in January: Agassi

Overall? Actually, because of the nature of this (fun but specific) hypothetical construct, I'd pick a healthy Rafa if the surface and/or court were not specifically mentioned.

If I wanted one man to win me a Grand Slam title/final, I'd pick Fed.

If I wanted one man to win Wimbledon--and my life was hanging in the balance--I'd pick Pete.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 07/04/2009 at 12:25 PM

Speaking of mindsets, I agree that if only Andy can get into a certain mindset, then he can win tomorrow. I was thinking of Goran when he beat Pat Rafter several years ago. At the time he had said that he was determined that he wasn't going to take home one of those "silly little plates" again and that worked for him.

I don't see why Andy can't go out there in a similar mindset and if he does win I will be delighted for him, as I was Goran.

Posted by VE 07/04/2009 at 12:25 PM

Tennis Fan, what's interesting is that Dinara will gain 740 pts and Serena 600. Dinara will widen her lead at No. 1 because of the improvement in her performnce at Wimbledon. She only made 3rd round last year.

Posted by NP 07/04/2009 at 12:26 PM

Arun, I prefer to watch sports on TV when I can. And I say this as some1 who prolly has a better display system than U. Take that.

Posted by kiwibee 07/04/2009 at 12:26 PM

Well.I realized that NBC is showing the match "live".lol

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 12:27 PM

Tennis Fan - Thanks for pointing out where I missed it. I did not know that the rule mattered for premier 700K tournament as well. So that explains it. You are right that Vera is the one that will be most affected. The minus for serena is that she can't replace Charleston though but can replace Rome like you said. I still think the rankings will most likely remain as they are may be just closer till the USO where the pressure will be on ReRe to defend something she hasn't done except once for Wimbledon 02-03.

Posted by Crazy-for-Rog (Roger for the Channel Slam!) 07/04/2009 at 12:27 PM

There is no single GOAT. Unless you can transport Laver, Sampras, Borg, Federer to the same era and have them play each other. Otherwise, such comparisons are futile. The truly great would be just as great in any era. Federer would have stuck to serve and volley tennis had he been the same age as Sampras and playing the likes of Becker and Edberg. Likewise, Sampras would have adapted his game to play the likes of Federer, Nadal and Murray. Laver would have been great no matter which era he'd played in. You can never compare players across eras, because of changes in surface, evolution in technology, the changing physicality of the game (players today are much stronger and fitter than even during Sampras' time). You can only talk about who are the players who deserve to be in the elite group of greatest players of all time.

Posted by olive 07/04/2009 at 12:29 PM

avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena", i don't know if you noticed but venus was visibly limping when she walked out on court. she has a right to play it down. she played it down so much and won the 1st 6 rounds, i thought it didn't mean anything either.

didn't she only used tape on her knee in the other matches, today she was wearing a neoprene brace and tape?

i am trying to understand why she went awol. i am very disappointed.

Posted by Rosangel 07/04/2009 at 12:29 PM

Thanks, Jake. For the sake of British tennis, I hope you're right:) I've followed Murray from the start of his career on the tour; only in the past couple of years have I had faith that he'll come through one day.

That said, Murray isn't really a product of "British tennis" as a whole so much as of family, especially his mother (who played on the women's tour for a little while then became Scotland's national coach). She was closely involved with his career early on, but knew when to step back and let him make his own decisions. I think he's doing OK - seems to have his head screwed on the right way these days - a bit calmer than in the past. Well, he's no longer a precocious teenager.

For a 22-year-old, he's doing pretty well. I think he'll learn something from yesterday's semi, which as well as the serve mostly came down to the big points.

Posted by Tennis Fan 07/04/2009 at 12:29 PM

"what's interesting is that Dinara will gain 740 pts and Serena 600. Dinara will widen her lead at No. 1 because of the improvement in her performnce at Wimbledon. She only made 3rd round last year."

VE: Yes, despite Serena's chides, Safina has come a long way in about one year's time. I think this gets lost. Will see if Serena can defend her USO title, if she does and does relatively well in the summer she should finish the year at number 1 and that is the only thing that really matters.

Posted by Arun 07/04/2009 at 12:30 PM

Zimo and Mike have been returning like crazy men. too good. that said, if a specific player's return clicks very well on a given day is there a way that the same player in a team is allowed to make the return on both the Deuce and AD sides leaving the other player at the net at all the times?

Posted by NP 07/04/2009 at 12:30 PM

kiwibee, just pretend it's live. This time they're behind only by 1 or 2 games.

Posted by Veruca Salt (360) 07/04/2009 at 12:31 PM

"And this seems to be what Safina is lacking."

@Tennisfan-true dat!

(forgive my quote format, i'm addicted to twitter)

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 12:33 PM

olive - I missed the beginning of the match as I woke up a bit late (I'm on the west coast). So I did not see the limping. But I did note as the second set started that Vee was not moving well any more and she was not bending well for her serve. I only pointed the presser to show how Vee handled the reporters well despite the prodding.

Posted by Deuce 07/04/2009 at 12:33 PM

Hugs Venus fans. Not to take anything away from Serena - she brought her A serving game today and played well. Venus seemed a bit nervous and anxious though. You could see it when she was trying to hold for 6-5 in the first set. Wonder if the big sister bit played arole today....

Posted by jewell - Just say no to Fedal wars! 07/04/2009 at 12:34 PM

and you called me ungrateful this morning, NP. *shakes head*

Nice post, Matt Z (agree on all those picks, except romantic idiocy might make me choose Rafa regardless) - and the Wimbledon one on DC too - think they manage their changes very well, for the most part.

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 12:34 PM

Arun - N/D are also serving well. But this is moving so fast. They are already in a second set TB.

Posted by NP 07/04/2009 at 12:35 PM

"The truly great would be just as great in any era."

Crazy-for-Rog, that's why the GOAT debate isn't the exercise in futility that some fans make it out to be. Of course there will be plenty of disagreements, but what's the point of debating anything that almost everyone will agree on? But the thing is, the GOAT debate should be fun, and if it doesn't amuse you then there's no reason for you to dive in.

Posted by greenhopper 07/04/2009 at 12:35 PM

lucky netcord + good bh pass from Mike gives them the mini-break. 3-1.

Posted by evie 07/04/2009 at 12:36 PM

BBs with the mini. Hope they can hold on!

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 12:37 PM

greenhopper - sheesh! I'm not there yet LOL! Oh I hope N/Z get the mini-break back.

Posted by greenhopper 07/04/2009 at 12:37 PM

glorious hussle at the net, point of the match may be, Bryans go up 6-3.

Posted by jewell - Just say no to Fedal wars! 07/04/2009 at 12:37 PM

What a fabulous point!

Can't help liking N/Z - I like Zimonjic's face - but that point was beautiful, won by the Bryans.

Posted by evie 07/04/2009 at 12:38 PM

Alrighty then. We have ourselves a match.

Posted by NP 07/04/2009 at 12:38 PM

jewell, difference: You asked for something, I didn't. Take that.

Posted by Arun 07/04/2009 at 12:38 PM

fantastic point.. it was like Mike handled both N/Z singlehandedly before Mike ran in to close it. 6-3 in the TB.

Posted by greenhopper 07/04/2009 at 12:38 PM

Zimonjic misses a bh pass into the net. 7-3.
Brybros chest bumped after the 6-3 point.

Come one oldies, lets break them this set, shall we?

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 12:38 PM

"Can't help liking N/Z - I like Zimonjic's face "

jewell - +1 :)

Posted by Pspace 07/04/2009 at 12:39 PM

C'mon Rafa-kids...give it up for Rog ;-):

Q. A few weeks ago the story was about Nadal winning everything, you struggling a little bit. Then you won Madrid, you won Paris. Now you're about to regain maybe the No. 1. Tennis seems to change fast. What's your reflection on this?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, there's a good side and a bad side, because it's kind of a very important period in tennis, the French Open and Wimbledon stretch.

So if you get injured ‑‑ I think like what Murray got injured as well with his wrist a couple of years ago, and Rafa now a little bit. I don't quite remember now who else got injured ‑‑ but you can lose so many points. Especially him being back‑to‑back champions, Paris and Wimbledon last year, you can't play, you lose four thousand points. It goes like in a hurry. From being invincible, you're all of a sudden No. 2, No. 3 in the world, having to prove yourself.

Other tournaments are looming around the corner which you have to defend again. Does that just mean that he's only the second best, you know, or third best just because he couldn't play? Probably not. He deserves to be all the way up there in the rankings, but somebody has to win the tournament.

All you can do is put yourself in that position, and I did. Of course, I'm very happy. Shouldn't be forgotten what a great player, what a great champion he is. Stories come about very, very quickly in tennis.

At the same time, because they go so quickly, some fade quickly as well. Sometimes it's not fair towards certain players, if you achieved a lot like I did for so many years and then you don't win some tournaments, people say you're already on the decline very quickly.

So that's the way this business works, unfortunately. But I hope it just opens some eyes at least these last few months, because they have been very different maybe to what people expected.

Posted by Carrie 07/04/2009 at 12:39 PM


It seems like Pancho Gonzalez is really forgotten when it comes to the lists of the greats. I wish I could see more video of him. A funny comment on one of the Youtubes about him:

*[I]n a great leave it to beaver episode; wally comes home all excited about a date or something and beaver says,"you look like you just saw pancho gonzalez or something".*

My husband is wanting to watch some of the hotdog eating contest before we go out for the 4th so we are veering between tennis and competative eating. The announcers are debating who the GOAT of competative eating is. lol

Posted by Veruca Salt (360) 07/04/2009 at 12:40 PM

me three.

zimonjic-i'd smash.

Posted by Deuce 07/04/2009 at 12:40 PM

Avid - nice post earlier re Venus v Serena - "seeing Vee being bossed around the court (her lawn) broke my heart *sigh*" - that summed up my feelings too. Serena wanted this title and came after it - well deserved. But seeing Venus in that state - ugh - sad.

Posted by evie 07/04/2009 at 12:41 PM

NBC really falling behind now. Before long, they'll be half a set behind.

Posted by VE 07/04/2009 at 12:41 PM

Matt Zemek, of all players in the last 20 years, those guys make sense. But I think you'd have to maybe throw Bjorn Borg in the equation at either Chatrier or Centre Court

Posted by Arun 07/04/2009 at 12:41 PM

ASF: yes. especially, Zimo's serves down the T have been working well. Oh - and congrats on ReRe's victory. now she is holding 3 of the 4 slams, eh?

Bob to start serving in the 3rd set.

Posted by greenhopper 07/04/2009 at 12:43 PM

you are freaking kidding me... Zimo misses an eeeaaaaasy fh smash into the net. Would have given them the 1st BP of the match. He follows it up with a fh into the net and lets out a big scream. gah. Please to hold serve now and not let this bother you.

Posted by VE 07/04/2009 at 12:43 PM

@ 12:41, my point being if you extended the timeline, Borg would have to be considered.

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 12:44 PM

Serena says she was hoping she won't need to serve it out.

Q. What was your immediate reaction when you won the final point? Elation? Disbelief? I got the championship back? What were you thinking?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I was definitely thinking, like, Gosh, that ball was out. Thank God. Did she hit it in the net? I don't know. I was thinking, God, I didn't choke on another match point. I was thinking it was good to be over, 'cause I really didn't want to serve. I kept trying to break. That's all I could think about.

And I was excited. Like, Wow, I won Wimbledon. It's been so long. It felt really good.

Posted by Matt Zemek 07/04/2009 at 12:44 PM


Kobayashi is the biggest hot dog of them all, right? I'd take him on any bun, with any assemblage of meat byproducts.

Wheat, white, or oat bread; turkey franks, beef franks, chicken franks. Kobayashi had the best service motion--so consistent, and he was so regularly able to focus and finish!

Posted by Carrie 07/04/2009 at 12:44 PM

They are talking about an off season during the competitive eating circuit and how one of the eaters has a weaker side but has worked on his technique. Kinda surreal switching between this and tennis.

Boy- JMac and co really ramble on during the doubles play.

Posted by jewell - Just say no to Fedal wars! 07/04/2009 at 12:45 PM

yeah Avid - he really is nice. Mmm.

Posted by Arun 07/04/2009 at 12:45 PM

another brilliant return by Mike.

Posted by Jake 07/04/2009 at 12:45 PM


Murray has improved a lot, to say the least. He is doing all the right things right now, and he should just continue doing what he's doing, esp. work on his physical fitness, and add a little bit more aggression to his play.

Brits should be proud of him. I have not the slightest doubt that he will reach higher than Tim Henman did.

He has the "it" factor, and pretty soon he will break through and win a slam.

Just keep working.

July 4 weekend here, and I feel like a little Tennis - so I am headed out the door to go swing on a neighborhood court!


Posted by NP 07/04/2009 at 12:45 PM

Carrie, you probably have read this article on Pancho already, but here it is (again) for those who haven't:

Fun tidbit: Laver in his book explicitly calls Gonzales a "bastard." Gorgo must've done something to prompt the mild-mannered Aussie to utter such a word.

Posted by greenhopper 07/04/2009 at 12:46 PM

damn. Ramos is on phone and the commies are saying Zimo called for a trainer. :-/

Posted by Nic 07/04/2009 at 12:46 PM

Methinks Nenad has something of following amongst the twibe.

And Pspace, are you stirring? ;)

Posted by Crazy-for-Rog (Roger for the Channel Slam!) 07/04/2009 at 12:47 PM

NP ... that was my attempt to "dive in" to the discussion. I voiced my opinion that there is no single GOAT, but rather, a host of greatest ever players. I wasn't asking anybody else to shut up and end the GOAT debate, rather, I was merely giving my 2 cents on the subject.

Posted by Carrie 07/04/2009 at 12:48 PM


Kobayashi is the biggest hot dog of them all, right? I'd take him on any bun, with any assemblage of meat byproducts.*

Joey Chestnut is now the number one in the competitive eating world right now. He has won the last two Nathan's contests - although I have discovered- there are many subsets of competitive eating. Not just hot dogs!

This contest is like the Romans before the fall. I expect to see Caligula mixing it up in the crowd any moment.

Posted by greenhopper 07/04/2009 at 12:48 PM

oh phew. it's just new towels. :)
I think it's Greg Rusdeski calling this match on the BBC(?) stream.

Posted by Matt Zemek 07/04/2009 at 12:48 PM


Fair point. It's cruel and harsh (yet unavoidable) to pick one person over every other.

Borg would be an ever-so-slight second choice behind Rafa in Paris, and he'd be right there with Fed and Laver, behind Pete at Centre Court.

Connors would probably be second behind Fed at the US Open, albeit on Armstrong and not Ashe if you wanted to be picky about it.

Posted by Ruth 07/04/2009 at 12:48 PM

Hi, Rosangel, I was wondering where you were. Sorry about Murray, but you know how thrilled I am about Roddick's win.
Yes, Stefanki and he had a great plan for the semis and he exectued it beautifully. It was strange to see RAndy exuding, as Pete said, "serenity," while MAndy was indulging in the needless quarrels with the umpire that are more RAndy's thing.

I'm counting on Larry and the team to come up with an equally good plan for tomorrow because I'll be rooting hard for Andy to pull off the ultimate upset. Roger may be one of my five faves, but I never root against Andy just as I never root against Venus, no matter whom they're playing.

Like you with Murray, I've been following Andy since he was a youngster. I was told about him by another tennis fan who had met Andy a few times when he was playing juniors and futures, and she liked him so much that she said she wished she could adopt him -- even though,like me, she already had two sons of her own! :)

I had promised to go today to see the new Woody Allen movie with a friend and then go to dinner. But she had a family crisis, so we're doing dinner only. I pretended to be very disappointed, but I'm glad for the chance to see, possibly, both doubles matches -- if they show both.

Did I say I hate these 3/5 men's doubles? :) Yes, Ruth, about 3 times already. :)

Come on, Bob and Mike!

Posted by Veruca Salt (360) 07/04/2009 at 12:48 PM

"Methinks Nenad has something of following amongst the twibe."

there will a nenad whisker appreciation society soon. (i hope).

Posted by NP 07/04/2009 at 12:48 PM

Matt, methinks thou art due an update. The top dog is now Joey Chestnut:

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 12:50 PM

Deuce - yeah I really felt bad in that second set. Serena was taking no prisoners and just went about her business not caring who was on the other side of the net and rightfully so. But even as a Serena fan, it did hurt for Vee.

Posted by jewell - Just say no to Fedal wars! 07/04/2009 at 12:50 PM

Greenhopper - I think it's Rusedski and David Mercer.

Don't worry, NP, next time I'll just ignore you and listen to Sherlock. ;-)

Anyway, out for the evening, bye, everyone. :)

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 07/04/2009 at 12:51 PM

Yes, I too am very proud of Andy Murray. Yesterday's match was very tight and could have swung either way. He will take the positives away and use them and I think he will be a strong contender for the USO.

Posted by Arun 07/04/2009 at 12:52 PM

from 40-love to deuce.. courtesy of 2 DFs by Z.

Posted by VE 07/04/2009 at 12:52 PM

Matt, that's what makes these games fun, so I'll join.

If I had to pick a woman in her prime to play for my life, I'd pick the following:

Rod Laver Arena: Monica Seles
Phillipe Chatrier: Steffi Graf
Centre Court: Martina Navratilova
US Open: Serena Williams

If it were one player regardless of surface or event, Steffi Graf without a second thought.

Posted by NP 07/04/2009 at 12:53 PM

I know, Crazy-for-Rog. Your opinion is a valid one, but we the lost souls shall keep on debating to the death.

Posted by greenhopper 07/04/2009 at 12:53 PM

Thanks, jewell. Been wanting to know who the other guy is.

Damn. Zimo serves two double faults in a row, Mike hits a good bh pass and it's the first deuce on N/Z's serve. Followed by a good rally at the net with Danny missing a fh, 1st BP of the match. 2 good serves and ANOTHER DOUBLE. NENAD ZIMONJIC! Focus.

Posted by CL 07/04/2009 at 12:54 PM

Hmmm... I feel like the last 100%Fed fan still standing. Winning back that Wimby trophy means the world to him and I want him to succeed. Much as I admire the match that Andy played against Muzzah and the work that has gone into re-constituting his game, I want Fed to win. Full stop. I disagree with this idea that a player 'deserves' a championship. Whoever wins deserves it. Fed didn't deserve RG, he earned it - he won it.

I didn't see the match when Andy beat Fed in 08, (or if I did, I have conveniently erased it from my memory banks.), but I think the best match I have ever seen Andy play vs. Fed was the 07 USO semi. The night match against Darth Fed. For 2 sets Andy played much like he did against Murray. Amazing serving, few kamakaze net charges, striking the ball cleaning off both sides, no panic. And he still lost in 2 TBs and 6/3 or 4 in the third. Fed will not underestimate Andy. If Fed can maintain his own serving 'riddum' I think and hope he can get 'his' trophy back, which will make both of us very happy.

Posted by NP 07/04/2009 at 12:55 PM

"Don't worry, NP, next time I'll just ignore you and listen to Sherlock. ;-)"

Spoken like a truly ungrateful chick!

BTW is the women's doubles final right after the men's?

Posted by olive 07/04/2009 at 12:55 PM

avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena", i often feel like venus is like a politician in her pressers, always diplomatic rarely saying anything. i don't know if it's shyness or distrust or something else. i am not expecting her to bare her soul, but ah for a little glimpse. i love that she cut down the reporter dissing woman's tennis yesterday, but i hate that she didn't offer reasons.

she's a veteran and intelligent, and certainly has something to say, i wish we could here it.

but i guess it doesn't matter, because it's her tennis that really matters. was borg this evasive also?

Posted by Carrie 07/04/2009 at 12:55 PM

For all of those on tenderhooks- Joey Chestnut won Nathan's Hotdog Eating Contest with 68 hot dogs eaten in 10 minutes. Kobayashi was second with 64.

Announcers saying that Chestnut has a harder, more physical style but Kobayashi with his elegant eating- and one of the greatest eaters ever- can't find a way to beat Chestnut. Hmmmmmm does that sound like the talk after Wimbledon last year. It is kind of hilarious.

Posted by greenhopper 07/04/2009 at 12:58 PM

Guy Forget and Cedric Pioline are OWNING the Woddies in the men's invitational doubles. Woodies fighting off a bagel in the 1st set.

There's a doctor on court and he gave Zimonjic something for his upset stomach. Danny holds at 15, 3-all. And NBC is real time now!

Posted by Matt Zemek 07/04/2009 at 12:59 PM


At least the Bryans didn't lose each of the first two sets!

Then what would you have done?!

Posted by olive 07/04/2009 at 12:59 PM

oops, let me add there is a time we get a window into the thick atmosphere surrounding venus, it's when she wins.

Posted by Pspace 07/04/2009 at 12:59 PM

""And Pspace, are you stirring? ;)""

Nic, hehe, usually yes. But, I thot those were very sporting comments from Roger. Of course, he's always maintained this in the past, i.e., if one guy loses his No. 1 due to injury...doesn't necessarily make the new incumbent the best player. I think it's safe to say that regardless of the ranking Rafa is the best player atm.

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 12:59 PM

olive - you are right and i understand. But from what I have seen in general, giving a reason is always interpreted as giving an excuse, which is kind of sad. I can imagine that Vee won't go that route. And definitely her tennis doe sthe talking.

I did not watch tennis in the days of Borg so I have no idea ;-)

Posted by Carrie 07/04/2009 at 12:59 PM

Speaking of chestnut's Ted Robinson is bringing up the old Murray comment of anyone but England re 2006 World Cup. Let it rest- geeze.

Posted by Samantha Elin(supporter of all things Scandinavian.) 07/04/2009 at 01:00 PM

Tennis fan, you might want to stop on the Dinara points and number l stuff. I don't think you could convince a brainless dodo bird that Safina is really world's#1, no matter what the computer says with Serena holding 3 of the 4 GS and one being the most important trophy in tennis. Any argument of Safina being the best, just closed shut today. Yes, I know the computer says she's number l, but go on any tennis board today if you really believe that. Ok, back to the pool for me.

Posted by NP 07/04/2009 at 01:01 PM

So Chestnut wins again. BTW was it 12 min or 10? The previous record was 66 hot dogs in 12 min.

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