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Actually, it is a Laughing Matter 12/14/2009 - 1:14 PM

92584084 by Pete Bodo

Howdy, everyone. A few minutes ago, I received an email from my pal Bart Lagae, a Belgian reporter, who had a news flash: Yanina Wickmayer and Xavier Malisse have been cleared to continue playing while they appeal the suspensions levied against them for failing to be available for doping tests. The Tennis.com home page will keep you updated.

On to happier subjects:

While down at Nick Bollettieri's late last week, I had a chance to visit with Jelena Jankovic, during her shade-under-intense practice session with one of the young guns at the academy, a former University of Mississippi player, Robby Poole. These days, top women can hold their own against a player of Poole's caliber, at least as long as serving and returning are left out of the equation. Watching the two of them screw around playing tiebreakers (both players began each point by popping a ball into play from the baseline) reminded me just how far women's tennis has come since Chris Evert ruled the roost and puffballs floated in the air as often as sharply hit forehand or backhands pierced it.

I've always enjoyed watching Jelena play, and seeing her practice is in some ways more illuminating than watching a proper match, where all that tension and execute-or-die mandates are in play. Somehow, most players (Roger Federer is one of the outstanding exceptions) are visibly looser, more relaxed, downright happier when they're practicing.They sometimes go for wild shots and laugh when they miss; they make faces they wouldn't dare show to opponents. In matches, a player tries to channel the psyche of an assassin; in practice, she channels the spirit of a yellow Labrador retriever puppy.

Typical practice garb is more athletic than the stuff most players wear in order to keep those endorsement checks coming. Jelena wore mid-calf black running tights, and a crisp, clean, long-sleeved quarter-zip top of white - in whatever they call that latest miracle fabric that promises to keep you from getting sweaty even in a sauna. When did "wicking" become a spiritual state otherwise attainable only by following certain rituals that involve chanting? 

Jelena wasn't wearing make-up, and her dark pony tail poked pertly from the back of her trucker's cap. This girl has great legs, and the painted-on running tights emphasized their smooth but unmistakeably athletic curves. The overall look amounted to no-nonsense sporty, in an elegant way.

I chatted with Jelena during those rest minutes when the players sat sipping Gatorade under unseasonably cool, cloudy skies. She told me that her 2009 was full of unexpected personal distractions, including surgery for her mother Snezana, and the death of a favorite grandmother. "Those problems made me realize I didn't have to take everything, including my tennis, so seriously. You don't have to put yourself under so much pressure on the court. It's better just to have fun, and appreciate the good things in life. You can do what you want - play, laugh, have fun. Live your life, because your health is the most important thing."

Of course, it was something like a health issue that helped account for the horrible start Jankovic had in 2009. I was at Nick's academy at about the same time last year, when Jelena was fresh off a rigorous off-season strength-building regimen adminstered by Pat Etcheberry. The result of that well-intended desire to prepare for a strong defense of her No. 1 ranking was, basically, a disaster. "I gained ten kilos," Jelena told me, "That's about 20 pounds. I wasn't fat, because it didn't show so much - muscle is heavier than fat. But it made me feel uncomfortable, I felt physically restricted and I couldn't move as freely as I wanted. It was something new to me, I never was so heavy before."

For a player like Jankovic, who relies on her athletic ability, that physical change was a kiss of death - although there's certainly room to argue that on many occasions last year (the Australian Open was a great example), it was Jankovic's mind and heart that let her down, not her body. But perhaps those nasty switches on her competitive motherboard were flicked by the discomfort she felt. It's a tricky subject, for sure.

"Sometimes you try, you give your best and things don't go like you expect," she said. "That happens. But it's still important to try new things, to try to improve. If it doesn't work, so what? The main thing is to give your best."

Although Jankovic's first half of 2009 was disappointing, she was encourged by the way her game came around during the summer at Cincinnati and at times in the fall. She felt, at the end of the WTA tour championships in Dough-ha, that she had something to build on. "It's important to know that if you fail, you can come back and become a champion again. When you're going up and winning, it's easy. You don't have a care in the world. But that is just the easy part of your career. Right now, I'm proud about how I went down, and then I made myself go back up."

Jankovic is well-positioned to make a big move early in 2010, because she has few ranking points to defend. She says it doesn't mean very much to her. "I want always to make the little steps to get better, and not think about things like rankings and points.  I'm having fun in practice and just trying to to back to basics and add some little things that make will make me better. Every player has to learn to do what's right for herself and her game."

The new year will present opportunities, but unusual challenges as well. The WTA is without a dominant player at the moment, so there's room for the bold and talented to operate. But with former Grand Slam champions returning to the game (Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin), the home stretch at any major might find half-a-dozen ponies running flank-to-flank. "We have some very good tennis players and some very strong athletes," says the woman who's an appealing combination of both. "I think the year is going to be very exciting."

Jelena is undecided about doubles, and has no plans to play mixed. What, did she have enough of the Jamie Murray show, I wondered?

Jelena laughed: "It was enough. I am a Wimbledon champion now (in mixed, with Murray) and I think I am retired. So I can say I am always the champion forever, because nobody took away my title."

One of the nicer things about Jankovic is that she laughs more easily and freely than any woman on the tour; it's unusual, when you consider that the countdown to when Henin drops her first giggle or an unlikely guffaw is now entering something like it's 27th year. You can forgive a player who laughs a lot a great deal, including a six-month bout of competitive inadequacy. And the ability to laugh can be a great ally in the battle to turn back the tide of self-bashing and scab-picking. 

As we walked away from the practice court, Jankovic boasted, in a mock serious tone: "My goal in 2010 is to start fast and finish strong." She laughed at the cliche, but repeated it, forcefully, "Start fast, finish strong. That will be my motto."

It was hard to tell whether she was serious or not. But in any event you heard it here first.


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Posted by Jamaica Karen 12/14/2009 at 09:31 PM

It would be good if we knew the point scores if the commentator would give the point score rather than chatting through the bloody games - idiots

Posted by Carol ( 2010 Nadal Reign) 12/14/2009 at 09:33 PM

I love the Nadal's new outfit. That's fashion. Hope to see him reasing the AO trophy wearing the nice pants. With his great game he can wear what ever he wants, who cares!!!!

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 12/14/2009 at 09:35 PM

Karen lol! I agree

I now know all about Sam Groth a aussie tennis player and where he went in 2009

Posted by Jamaica Karen 12/14/2009 at 09:36 PM

AM, indeed. I have to confess that I kind of tuned out the whole interview

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 12/14/2009 at 09:39 PM

Carol,

Yes, I agree! If you can't be fashionable and trendy at the age of 23, then don't bother!

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 12/14/2009 at 09:45 PM

Just listening to the Great Aussie player Neale Frazier who said he won Wimby about 50 years ago lol!

He said he would like to see players today Mix it up More,s/volley more.

Alicia you had a double break???

Sally breaks back

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 12/14/2009 at 09:47 PM

Goodness me we have now Sallys uncle in a interview LOL!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 12/14/2009 at 09:49 PM

Alcica Molik defeated Peers

Hang on these guys are too interested in talking than the score

Still didnt hear the final score

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 12/14/2009 at 09:51 PM

Carol and Lynne

I know we have to move on with Fashion

I still love Rafa the best in sleeveless tees's

Posted by Tigress (so glad these days i'm a Tigress not a Tiger) 12/14/2009 at 09:54 PM

Mr. X at 4:54: I'll try to add some of that info to the Countdown in the future.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 12/14/2009 at 09:54 PM

Aussiemarg: Think we all do, it was a great look for him. But he has said that it has gone for good or words to that effect so we will just have to use our imagination!

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 12/14/2009 at 09:57 PM

Lynne As long as they dont put in a Pink shirt for RG

I also love the colour Red on Rafa

Posted by Jamaica Karen 12/14/2009 at 10:03 PM

Well Peers should be able to make it on the WTA Tour, she just double faulted on match point. Welcome to the big leagues. I have to confess that I was never a big fan of Molik's game. All that backhand slice. I think I saw her hit 2 top spin backhands during the match, but I could be wrong. Anywho going to watch a bit of the boys action and then off to bed. Take care guys and continue to play nice.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 12/14/2009 at 10:07 PM

AM: Yep, red and orange look great on him. I hope some of the girls have better dresses for next year. This year has not been the best for dresses as they have been far too fussy. Stick to simplicity, I say.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (A Complete Bobblehead) 12/14/2009 at 10:07 PM

Hola everyone

Just a quick drive by, love the pic of JJ and glad to see that Yanina and Xavier will be allow to play so all good news.

AM I gather you are watching AO playoffs on stream.

Posted by Carol ( 2010 Nadal Reign) 12/14/2009 at 10:14 PM

Am and Lynne I loved Rafa in sleeveless too

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Y-6Zh_-wd8&feature=related

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 12/14/2009 at 10:16 PM

AA Yes,Alicia won in three sets over Sally Peers

Casey on in striaghts over Holland earlier.I didnt see that match

Tomic is coming up a bit later

Posted by Tim (Year of Red Rogie ) 12/14/2009 at 10:16 PM

ugh sorry this new redesign is a dud, all white, nothing distinctive about it at all, nothing 'pops' anymore, where's the drama? lol

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 12/14/2009 at 10:18 PM

Also Carsten Ball is not playing due to a injury

Chris Guccione has a Achilles injury

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 12/14/2009 at 10:19 PM

Tim I can always rely on you for Drama

We need no colour when your around

You provide us with everything and then some

Posted by Carol ( 2010 Nadal Reign) 12/14/2009 at 10:24 PM

Hehehe AM, well said!!!!!

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 12/14/2009 at 10:30 PM

Tim: What can you possibly want to "pop?" The design is great!

Posted by manuelsantanafan 12/14/2009 at 10:44 PM

15.

That popped out quickly.

So what's the complaint?

Posted by Carol ( 2010 Nadal Reign) 12/14/2009 at 10:49 PM

OK guys I'm really tired, my wonderful bed is waiting for me

Nite everybody

Posted by Ramana 12/14/2009 at 11:01 PM

Pete,
I watched Federer practice from close quarters at Indian Wells this spring. He was relaxed and hardly practiced seriously. He hit a few balls and was trying wierd shots and never looked serious. This quite opposite to your post which reads "Somehow, most players (Roger Federer is one of the outstanding exceptions) are visibly looser..."

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 12/14/2009 at 11:01 PM

Night Carol!

I'm going to "pop" off to bed too. Night all.

Posted by LJChiTown 12/14/2009 at 11:21 PM

Nice post Pete! Even though in my home country of Serbia, Ivanovic has always been more favored, I've always liked JJ more. This girl is so complex and sponteneous and deserves a lot more credit for her contributions to the wta tour. Brings so much energy and enthusiasm...I believe '10 is her year, she will finally prove many wrong who made those hasty conclusions while she was ranked #1.

Posted by Bobby 12/15/2009 at 12:08 AM

Pete, I enjoyed your description of Ms. JJ as "no-nonsense sporty, in an elegant way". :) I'm also glad you asked her about doubles. Considering her mixed doubles GS, I'm surprised she didn't play a bit more doubles this year.

jb, good point about whether Belgians and others will actually mean less pressure and, thus, better performance for JJ. I wonder if it will be the same for others and whether they'll shine as a result too.

LJChiTown, are you from Chicago? Had to ask seeing as how misery loves company. :)

Posted by Tim (Year of Red Rogie ) 12/15/2009 at 12:52 AM

well i guess rafa kids who think he looks good in clown pants and lime green shirts would prob like the 'design' which is basically just all white background with text on the page... my opinion remains... unchanged...i personally just think the techie department clicked the wrong box and went to the ' blank' design by mistake

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 12/15/2009 at 01:32 AM

Tim Us Rafa kids are slick,modern just like our boy

Hey even with the "checkered clown pants"

Yeah we can get down and boogie with the best of them,methinks.

Posted by rg.nadal 12/15/2009 at 01:32 AM

Hello all!
Where are you guys watching the matches now? Could you give me the links please?

Btw, where these articles by Pete and Steve always classified under the title "blogs"?

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 12/15/2009 at 01:40 AM

RG Nadal Hola,the matches are finished for today.I missed Tomics match cause I had a doctors appointment.I hope to catch him tomorrow.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 12/15/2009 at 01:45 AM

Morning, everyone. :)

Oh...matches are finished? I was hoping to catch a bit of the wildcard streaming. :( Must wake up earlier!

Posted by rg.nadal 12/15/2009 at 01:47 AM

AM: We were talking about JJ yesterday and today we see an article on her! And there is that nod to Jamie too in the article!!!!

Saw this: http://bit.ly/6F8mGo

Posted by rg.nadal 12/15/2009 at 01:49 AM

jewell: Hi there!!!

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 12/15/2009 at 01:53 AM

RG You must have sixth sense lol!

Posted by rg.nadal 12/15/2009 at 01:53 AM

Happy for Xavier and Yanina! Or is it a lil too early to feel like that? Hope they get to play AO 2010.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 12/15/2009 at 01:59 AM

Hi rg. :) JJ winning a slam is also on my wish list for next year - not that I'm expecting her to. ;-)

Posted by rg.nadal 12/15/2009 at 01:59 AM

Jewell: This is for you- *Murray alert* : http://tweetphoto.com/6423695

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 12/15/2009 at 02:01 AM

RG I think they need w/cards to get into the AO,not sure I will check with MA

Posted by zenggi 12/15/2009 at 02:02 AM

Good morning,

Time to rant. Mr. Agassi is in Amsterdam (yesterday and today) and gets a whole page in the newspapers today with interviews about his book. When Roger and/or Rafa win Roland Garros or Wimbledon they get a tiny space. Give media dirt and they'll run out of space.

Anyway, Agassi praises his father as "a fair, honest, loyal and caring man. He always had in mind the best for me though he had his own shortcomings. I hated tennis but I've always loved him. The big difference between us is dat his definition of success is different that mine. He was chasing the American dream, I wasn't".

Agassi also said that he went to Bollettieri's academy to escape from his father's control.

Tomorrow he goes to Paris, following his European tour.

Posted by rg.nadal 12/15/2009 at 02:03 AM

AM: Lol.
W-card for Yanina too? Is she not ranked high enough?

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 12/15/2009 at 02:03 AM

I think I read that Wicky wanted a WC for the AO, so she must need one, or could she go through qualifying?

Thanks, rg, they all look very relaxed. :)

Rafa has a new outfit? *off to find pictures*

Posted by zenggi 12/15/2009 at 02:07 AM

And I looked outside and I'm going back to bed. Everything is white. Temperature -8 C.

Posted by rg.nadal 12/15/2009 at 02:10 AM

Rafa's new gear: http://bit.ly/6mK5Aa

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 12/15/2009 at 02:12 AM

Hi zenggi! Did it snow?

It's still pitch dark here, but I think it will be cold out, although not as cold as you.

Posted by zenggi 12/15/2009 at 02:14 AM

Hi jewell :)

Frost. A lot. It may snow later. I hope not because I have to travel today.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 12/15/2009 at 02:17 AM

Thanks, rg.

Well, he always looks good in red...but I'm not sure about those shorts. Oh well, he did ok last year in the sparkly shorts, so I don't suppose it matters much. :)

I hope the weather stays clear for you, then, zenggi. :)

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 12/15/2009 at 02:20 AM

Rafa's website,December 15th,2009.

The Capitala World Tennis Chamionships,which begins on the 31st of December and goes till the 2nd of January is all set for the arrival of its start in a couple of weeks in Abu Dhabi after they revealed the official draw of play on Monday.

Rafa begins his 2010 campaign against the winner of Tsonga and Davydenko.In the other side of the draw,Roger Federer,Robin Soderling or Warwrinka could play him in the final.

In the meantime,Rafa has been working real hard back home where he has been training with 22 yr old british No 4 James Ward.

He has no plans to take it easy during the hoiday season and simply,his objective is to regain the ryhthm and confidence that helped him take his game to the next level during the last two years.

Posted by rg.nadal 12/15/2009 at 02:23 AM

zenggi: Hola there!!

jewell: Welcome. Red is good. As for the shorts, will take me a long time to get used to them.
As for Murray, hope he does not over-train and also hope that he is practicing his forecourt game.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 12/15/2009 at 02:27 AM

Rg I have seen Rafa's new outfit for 2010 at the AO before

I love him in Orange

No comment on the shorts

Seeing I will be up close with him I will indeed get a better view of the Shorts

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 12/15/2009 at 02:27 AM

Thanks for that, AM...I worry that he's working too hard, but I guess he feels he needs to.

Posted by rg.nadal 12/15/2009 at 02:27 AM

Was watching the Wimbledon highlights of 2004 yesterday. Poor Tim! Thought it was Grosjean who beat him, then I saw that he lost to Ancic in the quarters.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 12/15/2009 at 02:37 AM

Seconding the "Poor Tim!"...although actually, he didn't do too badly.

Posted by rg.nadal 12/15/2009 at 02:37 AM

AM: So we can expect truckloads of Rafa pics form you.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 12/15/2009 at 02:44 AM

Rg Nadal Well hopefully,last time I saw Rafa at the AO my camera faulted somehow

Though I got to talk to him and get his auto graph.I stayed at the Crown where he stays and Uncle Toni and he were right near me.Though I didnt pester them.They were talking and it was his off time as well.He always gives enough time to his fans.

Posted by rg.nadal 12/15/2009 at 02:54 AM

AM: You lucky girl!

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 12/15/2009 at 03:16 AM

Well, I am going to work, see you all later. :)

Posted by rg.nadal 12/15/2009 at 03:24 AM

jewell: Tata!

Posted by Cotton Jack 12/15/2009 at 03:48 AM

Oh I'm sooooo curious to know how Nadal is going to start 2010. Previous year's pre-clay successes:

2006 Dubai
2007 Indian Wells
2008 ---
2009 Australian Open, Indian Wells

In 2009 he had the HC confidence of 2008 Toronto and the Olympics in the not-too-distant past....

No matter how well he turns things around over the off-season, I think defending AO will a step too far at this stage. I think he's going to be *very* careful not to over-stress his body this side of Wimbledon. He said in one of his Q&As in The Times that he would prefer to regain Wimbledon than complete a career slam at the US Open.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 12/15/2009 at 03:53 AM

Cotton Jack Wimby is Rafa's fav tournament.He was upset this year that he could not defend his title there.So it makes sense he wants to reclaim it.Though I want him to reclaim his RG title first.

In regards to the defence of his AO title if you remember his knees went on him at the Paris Indoors tournament and had to retire in his match against Koyla.He ddint partake in the YEC last year.

No one can him any chance of winning the AO at all.He played lights out tennis and won.The plexicushion at the AO suits his game for one.

I would never write him off.Champions also have a way of making you eat Humble Pie.

Also beware the Wounded Bull.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 12/15/2009 at 04:09 AM

Another thing too he has reached the s.finals two years in a row at the US OPEN

This time being with a ruptured ab muscle.

Posted by VC 12/15/2009 at 04:19 AM

Those shorts are horrendous to put it politely. What's with the new trend of tight-fitting shorts? I don't like it.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 12/15/2009 at 04:26 AM

VC Get with it man

They are the new Hip thing lol!

Posted by VC 12/15/2009 at 04:30 AM

aussiemarg : The T-shirt is good though. I prefer Federer's 2006-style outfits - collar-less T-shirts and slightly looser, simple shorts. Djokovic usually looks good but I don't know what Sergio Tacchini will give him.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 12/15/2009 at 04:31 AM

VC Italiens are known world wide for their Fashion

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 12/15/2009 at 04:33 AM

VC I like the brand Fila.I recently brought some stuff from them.I like their fabrics and colours too.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 12/15/2009 at 04:34 AM

I must admit I always think Roger looks good in anything Nike put him in

Though I will forget about the Sgt.Peppers Miltary styled jacket he wore.Yikes!

Posted by VC 12/15/2009 at 04:38 AM

Federer's outfits are starting to get a bit boring for me. In the French Open particularly, his outfit was so drab, I almost wish they had put him in some outlandish costume to remember it by!

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 12/15/2009 at 04:40 AM

VC You dont think Roger can win another RG title

Posted by Cotton Jack 12/15/2009 at 04:43 AM

AM - I'm not very interested in semis, only victories (see Henman, Tim) :-)

I'm not writing anyone off, merely trying to work out what to expect. I certainly think the AO court suits him a lot more than the London WTF surface, but nonetheless his defending his AO would count as a slight surprise (though less of one than RF defending his FO!) given his previous patterns. Winning at Indian Wells, on the other hand, strikes me as being a step above a definite possibility.

Rather than making predictions, I like to see what the preceeding patterns are, and then enjoy results that deviate from that ... but I'm going to make this one prediction:

IF Del Potro can move his consistency to the level his play deserves, then every HC tournament this year is On His Racket. (From his post-WTF interview, I got the impression that RF feels the same)

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 12/15/2009 at 04:51 AM

Cotton Jack The point with Rafa making the semi's at the US OPEN,no offence to the Great Tim Henman of course lol! was if one follows his patterns he usually goes one step further and taking the tournament.To me if Rafa wins the US Open he can get his career slam at the age of 24 some feat.I had to sit and watch my idol Borg go there time after time and fail,well thats another story lol!

The plexixushion in my mind suits Rafa better than the surface at IW.

Del Potro is great on a h.court,though the plexicushion as we have already seen him on does not.Remember the canning Roger Federer gave him.Though that is not to say he cant adjust to it.

Posted by VC 12/15/2009 at 04:54 AM

aussiemarg : I would love to see it, but clay is a young man's surface (I see Cotton Jack agrees with me). If you told me right now that Federer will win just one more Slam in his career, pick any one, I would take RG without a doubt.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 12/15/2009 at 04:56 AM

Also mind full of the fact,the draw in any GS is vital.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 12/15/2009 at 04:57 AM

VC I dont really agree there.Clay suits the player really that has the Game for clay

Posted by VC 12/15/2009 at 04:59 AM

I also agree that when Del Potro plays well, most of the matches on HCs are on his racquet. It's interesting to see that Murray seems to handle him better than Fed and Rafa on HCs, I'd also like to see more Djokovic-Del Potro matches. I think he will be much harder to beat this year at the Australian Open, he seems to have made a huge mental breakthrough after that double-bagel Federer gave him.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 12/15/2009 at 04:59 AM

Gee Andre Agassi won at RG he must be considered old and had it lol!

The great Chris Evert has won the most titles on clay

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 12/15/2009 at 05:01 AM

Well Del Potro to me needs more fitness in his approach.

Pacing one self is the key to winning.Especially at GS level.

Posted by Cotton Jack 12/15/2009 at 05:03 AM

Oh yes, Delp's caning at the AO last year ... far from forgetting it, it made me underestimate him for the rest of the year. I think something within Delp grew up subsequent to that performance, and the proof of that was the US Open final.

If Rafa is to win a US Open final, he needs to produce a year that doesn't follow the pattern of 05, 06, 07, 08 & 09, a year that has more than just one plateau of excellence based round a clay-court season (or find a way of extending that plateau to a period that covers more than two slams)

And if he does successfully deviate from the patteren of those five years that will be Very Interesting Indeed.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 12/15/2009 at 05:03 AM

Well 2010 is for me where Murray has to stand up and be counted

Posted by VC 12/15/2009 at 05:05 AM

aussiemarg : I'm going more by the "trend" since the '90s, most of the players who won RG did it in the early part of their careers, with the exception of Agassi, Albert Costa and Federer...

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 12/15/2009 at 05:05 AM

Well I dont believe for a start that tennis should be in the Olympics

Rafa was on a roll in 08,he won the gold medal at the Olympics on the same surface as the US OPEN.

Posted by Cotton Jack 12/15/2009 at 05:06 AM

If Murray succeeds in Standing Up and Being Counted, I will be Mildly Surprised, as well as Very Pleased :-)

VC - I make no claim towards knowing that Clay is a Young Man's surface! I really haven't watched it enough to have an opinion on that

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 12/15/2009 at 05:08 AM

VC Well yes you can look at some of those players,though I still believe its the way you play your game on clay.

if one is brought up on clay,there lies the big difference straight away.

Posted by VC 12/15/2009 at 05:08 AM

Cotton Jack : I was only referring to the part where you said Federer was unlikely to defend his title there.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 12/15/2009 at 05:10 AM

VC Again it depends on the draw,Roger to me is the 2nd best player on clay when he is on his game.

Posted by Cotton Jack 12/15/2009 at 05:12 AM

Roger this year has the chance to be the only player in open era to reach five consecutive FO finals!

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 12/15/2009 at 05:13 AM

Yes that is some record in itself

Posted by Cotton Jack 12/15/2009 at 05:18 AM

Gotta to go now... just want to marvel at how many unknown quantities there are this year:

1. RF: where exactly lies his motivation now? (eg any left on clay?)
2. RN: fitness issues - are they all in remission atm?
3. Djok: ahem?!
4. Del Potro: is he going to do what he might?
5. Murray: is he ever going to be a GS player

Roddick, Soderling, Davydenko: these are all players who could earn places in GS finals.

I'm EXCITED!

Ta ta.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 12/15/2009 at 05:19 AM

In regards to Novak,I was disappointed in his play at London.Though I think Todd Martin being on his team has brought changes into his game.

He is playing Kooyong for the first time.Though he has to arrive early and get used to our heat.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 12/15/2009 at 05:20 AM

Geat list Cotton Jack

Bye for Now

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 12/15/2009 at 05:30 AM

Well I am going to hit the pillow myself

I will be watching the play offs tomorrow again with interest

Bryon Klein the top seed in the mens division was beaten again today.He will be hoping that other results go his way or else he wont be making it to the q/finals at all.

The same with the womens top seed,Olivia again was beaten today.

Posted by skip1515 12/15/2009 at 07:39 AM

Hmmph. Come here this morning and find that just as the ITF dropped the L years ago, Tennis has now dropped any bit of green, substituting YEC/WTF court bluish tones. Clearly there'll never be a revitalized grass court season now.

Though I have to say, the design *is* easier to read.

Posted by Master Ace 12/15/2009 at 07:49 AM

Yanina(and Xavier) has to ask for a wildcard as the AO entry list did not include her(him) after the Belgian Federation(upheld by ITF) suspended her(him) for a year.

Posted by sokol 12/15/2009 at 09:22 AM

hi, everyone

Svetlana Kuznetsova was awarded "The Athlete of the Year" in Russia. The other candidates were Safina, Kanaeva, Kanis'kina, Zayzeva, Efimova and Isinbaeva.

Congrats to Svetik! :-

Posted by sokol 12/15/2009 at 09:24 AM

Hantuchova's outfit for AO:
http://www.gotennis.ru/news/?p=32470

Posted by sokol 12/15/2009 at 09:29 AM

Masha's schedule for the first half of 2010 (from her site):

Thailand
Hong Kong
AO
Memphis
Indian Wells
Miami
Charleston
Marid
RG
Birmingham
W

Posted by sokol 12/15/2009 at 09:32 AM

"Svetlana Kuznetsova was awarded "The Athlete of the Year" in Russia"

female athlete of the year that is, there was another winner for men :-)

Posted by yello fuzzy 12/15/2009 at 09:35 AM

Hiya
Here's another ditty from the 2009 Yello Fuzzy songbook

I will survive
sung to the tune of ' I will Survive '
performed by Gloria Gaynor

here's a link to the melody
tinyurl.com/o5fua8

at first I was alone
I was at the top
kept thinking my slam tally would never stop
but the last 3 springs in Paris
Had my chance to wear the crown
I would leave town
losing in the final round

and now I'm back
to claim my place
I'm determined to leave Paris
with a smile across my face
I should have won here years ago
I should have earned the French trophy
If I'd known my career would end
with me crying and shanking

I will go
and try once more
I won't look back now
try to forget last years score
Mirka's about to pop my best days have gone by
I won't crumble
I won't lay down and die
not this guy

I will survive
as long as I know how to run
my French hopes are alive
I've got 13 slams already
at the French I don't have any
I will survive
I'm still alive, hey hey

(disco instrumental)

It'll take all the skill I have
to avoid the frazzle
kept my eyes on the prize
trying to revive my dazzle
I spent o so many nights
dreaming of a French victory
more sleepless nights
but GOATHOOD never left my sights

now here I am
there's something new
after two weeks at Roland Garros
where's that Rafa dude
I've been waiting for this moment
Rafa in pink for five denied
a sacrificial lamb from Sweden
I think I'm in heaven and died

I will go
and bring my serve
I'll even dropshot
I will forget to bring my nerves
this Soderling is done, two five setters I have won
I won't shamble
no way I will lose to this guy
O no not I

the French is mine
even the rude French crowd is behind me
I know this is my time
this is my chance to win this
and make tennis history
I feel alive
14 is mine , O


I will go
and try once more
I won't look back now
unless some jerk runs onto court
I wish Rafa was here, O hell that is a lie
I won't stumble
I won't lay down and die
this is my time

Posted by yello fuzzy 12/15/2009 at 09:38 AM

oops heres the link to the melody

http://tinyurl.com/o5fua8

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