Peter Bodo's TennisWorld - Weapon of Choice
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Weapon of Choice 01/18/2010 - 5:17 PM


Howdy, everyone.  Thanks for getting the Australian Open off to a great start - over 2,000 comments on a table-setting post. That's something to crow about. I expect more of the same tonight, and this will be your venue. I watched last night, of  course, and thought that Maria Sharapova's loss was a little sad - not because I have a particular soft spot for Sharapova, but because of what I'll call the Arias Syndrome. Those of you who remember Jimmy, one of Nick Bollettieri's first successful proteges, may already know what I mean.

Jimmy reached as high as No. 5 and was in the Top 10 for two years in the early '80s. He pre-figured the game to come with his huge forehand and emphasis on racket-head speed - no mean feat back in the day when most pros still played the standard-sized rackets and sought to control, rather than liberate, their swings. But the outburst of innovation that brought us mid-sized and larger rackets raced through the game like a prairie fire, and soon everyone was swinging from the heels, using large-head rackets, different new string combinations, and frames made from exotic materials.

I simplify, of course, but Jimmy felt (rightly, I believe) that he lost a big advantage when others could get comparable pace with more forgiving rackets and other technological aids. Technology leveled the playing field. Jimmy came along a few critical years too late, but late enough to show the way to the emerging gestalt. He got caught up in the gears of change.

I thought about Jimmy watching Sharapova last night, because I think she's in similar trouble. This time, though, the issue is less about gear and more the evolution of women's tennis (although I'm sure polyester strings have some role in this - can anyone shed light on that for us?). Some time in the last few years the women as a group figured out that they didn't have to work extra hard, and often with scant reward, to develop the same chief attack weapon the men use, the serve. They would focus instead on the return. Built-in limitations on power make owning a big serve an unattainable dream for most women, but the return, which feeds off the pace of the serve, can be transformed into a fearsome weapon even a woman with less than outstanding power can have.

Or, let's put it this way: Given reasonable mechanics, a player (man or woman) can work his tail off and realize perhaps a four or six percent gain in serving velocity and spin; bump that up to eight or ten percent if we include second serve quality and placement. Most players of either gender basically serve with what Godot gave 'em.

But the return - that can be improved more dramatically, partly because the returner isn't obliged to provide all the power, and thus face a self-determined ceiling. When you return, you're not just trying to get the most out of your shot; you're trying to get the most out of your opponent's shot (the serve) as well. This is a dangerous gambit among the men, because great serving can shut down great returning. But since very few women can serve an opponent off the court, the serve -- especially on the second ball -- is clay with which the returner can work.

This explains quite a few things about women's tennis, including the nearly comical way (from a narrow, traditional and gender-blind view) that service holds sometimes seems a more important stat than breaks of serve.The most dangerous shot in men's tennis remains the serve. Among the women (with a few choice exceptions, led by Serena Wiliams), the most dangerous shot is the return. Remember that big story that developed at the last U.S. Open, about why women had such miserable serving statistics? The answer is fear - fear of the return. It's as if the WTA rank-and-file realized, heck, why bang our heads against the wall, trying to become something beyond our grasp? Let's be something attainable - great returners.

And that's where Sharapova is in trouble, any time she can't serve at her absolute best. If she were, say, Justine Henin, she might be able to compensate for this vulnerability with other elements in her game. But given her limitations as an athlete, she has a declining ability to repel attacking returners.

There was a moment last night when Mary Jo Ferandez, Mary Carillo, Brad Gilbert and Pat McEnroe were discussing Sharapova's loss to Maria Kirilenko, and about three-quarters of the way through the analyses, McEnroe cut to the chase. Watching the match, he and Gilbert decided that Sharapova simply didn't move well enough when Kirilenko managed to pressure her. That, to me, was the key to the match. And more and more these days, when it comes to attacking, the service return is weapon of choice.

Thus, it was poignant when Sharapova, in a revealing moment of bitterness, said in her presser that she would be back to play on the second Saturday in Australia one day. She even added something like, "you just watch." More power to her if she can; she certainly works hard enough to maximize her potential. And she's an extremely determined and focused individual. But, like Arias, she may be a victim of history - caught in the gears of a churning, ever-moving game. 

-- Pete

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Posted by Master Ace 01/18/2010 at 05:26 PM

Action will resume in approx 90 minutes with the WTA leading off on all court televised by ESPN 360 except Hisense where Hott Sauce will face off against Carsten Ball

Posted by Master Ace 01/18/2010 at 05:29 PM

When Maria was successful before her shoulder became an issue, movement was a weakness but her serve and competitive fire was able to compensate this. Now, with her serve not a weapon and the intimidation factor almost gone(mostly thanks to Gisela Dulko win at Wimbledon after losing all matches to Maria easily), her movement is exposed. There is a reason why Maria only reach one SF at Roland Garros while doing well at the other Slams.

Posted by robbyfan 01/18/2010 at 05:31 PM

Good luck to everyone's faves this evening!

Posted by robbyfan 01/18/2010 at 05:34 PM

I have to add that Sharapova's coach needs to develop a poker face. It can't
have helped her to look towards her box and see the look on his face trying to crawl under his seat. I'm sure she has made him a rich man and he should have had a look of calm and determination on his face.

I still can't stand Jeff Tarango. Must we continue to listen to his drivel? I prefer Justin G. and that says something.

Evening Master Ace.

Posted by Master Ace 01/18/2010 at 05:37 PM

Good afternoon as we await Day 2.

Posted by robbyfan 01/18/2010 at 05:39 PM

A lovely day here in Atlanta, makes one remember spring is coming soon!!!

Posted by kchowcrazy - Go ReRe World #1!! 01/18/2010 at 05:39 PM

I actually found Maria's movement surprisingly bad, she was never the best around the court but Kirilenko made her look almost slow and lumbering at some points in the match. Her groundstrokes while just as hard where all over the place, odd from someone who is very mechanical and can usually hit the same shot over and over again (like Demmy). I remember a while ago someone saying on here i think, that without her serve Maria is basically Dementieva. I actually think shes Demmy without the movement which means unless she gets back to Aus 08 form she just another ball basher with nothing but mental strength to seperate her from the rest and sadly i think unlikely to win another slam, especially with Kim and Justine back.

Posted by Pspace (The Curse of Tommy Robredo) 01/18/2010 at 05:41 PM

The more I think about it the more confused I get about the serving woes. Forget about pace, I don't see why there can't be better placed serves on average. Kirilenko hit her spots quite well, and while she wasn't serving very hard, Sharapova's return game was thrown off. She tried to put the return back in play in sets 2 and 3...but Kirlenko had the edge in the more neutral rallies.

Clijsters' is another example of a serve which is not really big, but very precise.

Sharapova might cut out some of her double faults if she reduced the time between her first and second serves. Is it really necessary to adjust those two locks of hair every single time? Why not get a hair cut.

Posted by VC 01/18/2010 at 05:41 PM

Very enlightening post about the key difference between ATP and WTA tennis.

Posted by toonie 01/18/2010 at 05:41 PM

Hi Everyone, I see that Wickmayer managed to hang on to win last night. What happens to day two matches now that they have to finish yesterdays matches?

Posted by robbyfan 01/18/2010 at 05:43 PM

Does Maria K. always shriek that loud or was she just keeping pace?

Posted by toonie 01/18/2010 at 05:44 PM

robbyfan: I wondered the same thing regarding the shrieking as I had never seen Maria K play before.

Posted by Karen 01/18/2010 at 05:44 PM

Hmm, I remember that discussion about the return of serve as I recall that I was a part of it. Yes, I think more coaches are now teaching about the return rather than the serve and that is a pity. It is no more that you rely on your own abilities to win a match but basically breaking down your opponent's strength (which I guess is what the game is about). That being said, Serena I guess has the best of both worlds. She is an excellent server and a very good returner. I wonder why that is? As to the match last night, I just think that Sharapova was just not ready to compete. She lacks confidence in her whole game, from the serve, the return, the ground strokes, everything. I dont even think she has the belief anymore. Why is this? Has the shoulder injury decimated her confidence? Is there more to her injury than we are seeing? Is she ready to hang it up? A loss like this gives confidence to the rest of the women on the tour as they will be circling like rabid dogs (except for Petrova who will still be cowering in fear). From the little of her press conference that I saw she still had the haughty look but her words belied what everyone else saw. I guess the Empress has no clothes but only she does not realise that she is actually naked.

Posted by carnap - Jan. 25th - Burns' Supper 01/18/2010 at 05:44 PM

Sharapova without her serve is basically Dementieva???? What an insult to Dementieva!

Posted by Master Ace 01/18/2010 at 05:45 PM

As far as the ATP, first round will be complete pending weather. As far as the WTA, 14 matches from the first round will be completed on Day 3. However, if you are still in the SP, you must make a pick from the matches listed on the WTA even though it may not be played until Day 3.

Posted by robbyfan 01/18/2010 at 05:46 PM

Why don't they start at 8 or 9am?

Posted by Alan 01/18/2010 at 05:47 PM

One of the other exceptional servers on the WTA is a fairly small woman named Justine Henin (5' 6", 130 lb). She's been clocked at around 120 mph, which can keep up with guys on the ATP. How does she get that much stick? Good mechanics using her kinetic chain well (i.e. using her core, and legs to generate racquet speed). It also helps that she spends a lot of time throwing a football. Other gals who have pretty good serves but don't depend on strong arms and shoulders are: Lisicki and Stosur.

So I don't quite agree that woman intrinsically limited on the return due to their physical limitations. At best your argument that the marginal benefit on working on your return over your serve just argues that the former has a more immediate payoff, which is the last thing we need in women's tennis.

One thing I do wholeheartedly agree with is that Masha has to work on her movement. Even improving her net play is just a special case of working on her movement. Everyone is focusing on her serve problems, but the AO match shows that the game plan for beating her ain't a mystery: move her around so that she'll cough up an UFE.

Posted by toonie 01/18/2010 at 05:48 PM

Thanks Master Ace. SP just got way more challenging!

I haven't heard anyone talk about Ana and Jelena's chances are they considered contenders here?

Posted by carnap - Jan. 25th - Burns' Supper 01/18/2010 at 05:50 PM

toonie: They're considered D.O.A., I believe.

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 01/18/2010 at 05:51 PM

Although I believe Sharapova can still recover her 04 game, what has to be troubling to her is the quality of opponents she has lost to. FO to Cibulkova, Wimbledon to Dulko, USO to Oudin, AO to Kirilenko. These are solid, butn't good players. And one thing is certain, the Sharapova that beat Serena at Wimbledon would have wiped these players away in straight set. I believe she was a better player when she was coached by her dad.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 01/18/2010 at 05:51 PM

Thanks Pete Maria Sharapova's serve let her down.Her 2nd serve was just strugglind with.Maria's game has always been based around her strong first serve.Though her fighting abilty which is her "trademark" is still there.Knowing problems with Rotor Cuffs in shoulders,remembering Pat Rafter was forced to retire because of it.I hope she works out a way to "tweak" her serve.Cause without it you just plain struggle.

Posted by Pspace (The Curse of Tommy Robredo) 01/18/2010 at 05:52 PM

Alan, Stosur's triceps are bigger than my biceps...not that that says much...but she's jacked. Agree about Lisicki.

And, I'm not sure one would call Justine an excellent server by any standards...maybe for her height. Yeah, she gets some stick, but she's rarely gets any free points.

Posted by carnap - Jan. 25th - Burns' Supper 01/18/2010 at 05:54 PM

When I think of Henin, I never think of "great serve" either. I'm more inclined to think about her groundstrokes, agility, fitness and intelligence.

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 01/18/2010 at 05:55 PM

Carnap, I think what that quote means is that Sharapova without her old serve isn't capable of winning a slam just as Demmy lack of a slam title is largely due to her serve. There is some truth to this. Demmy maybe slightly better off the ground because she had to develop that aspect of her game.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 01/18/2010 at 05:55 PM

Pspace Sam's upper body would put shame on some of the men currently playing the game,let me tell you.

Posted by Mr. X 01/18/2010 at 05:59 PM

i guess it makes sense to work more on the return if you think you are not gonna be a very good server anyway, but i wouldnt say it's impossible for the WTA players to be good servers, since some of them are. It probably has more to do with the coaches thinking it's the best idea to win matches now.
As for Shrieky, for what i saw, her movement certainly was subpar, and MaKiri was clearly better in that aspect of the game. And every time she came close to the net, she lost the point. So basically, she could only win points with a very good serve, or finding some big shots to overpower Makiri. When she found herself out of position, those shots didnt appear and she made too many UFEs.
However, i dont think she's done. By any means. She's very tough, and she certainly wants to be back, as that quote shows. If she can find her serve back, she will return.

Posted by carnap - Jan. 25th - Burns' Supper 01/18/2010 at 06:00 PM

Samantha: kchowcrazy first stated that Sharapova's movement was surprisingly bad,and that without the serve, she was basically another Dementieva. Granted Dementieva isn't known for having a good (never mind great) serve, but her movement around a court is nothing short of amazing. Add to that the fact that Dementieva is still winning tournaments (last week at Sydney) while Sharapova isn't. True, Dementieva hasn't won a slam that compares to Sharapova's 3, but she's still at the top of the game whereas Sharapova isn't. The comparison was ridiculous if not insulting.

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 01/18/2010 at 06:06 PM

I would agree that Demmy is a lot better mover than Sharapova.

Posted by VC 01/18/2010 at 06:07 PM

"I guess the Empress has no clothes but only she does not realise that she is actually naked."

Mr. X and Pspace : I can't believe you passed up on this.

Posted by carnap - Jan. 25th - Burns' Supper 01/18/2010 at 06:08 PM

VC: Guaranteed they haven't passed up on that. They're still fantasizing.

Posted by Pspace (The Curse of Tommy Robredo) 01/18/2010 at 06:08 PM

VC, it was too easy ;-).

Posted by Mr. X 01/18/2010 at 06:09 PM

Sam Stosur probably has a big serve, but i'm assuming her very strong arms and shoulders play an important part in it.
Well, i survived Day 1 in the WTA SP (thanks, Flavia, you are still awesome), and now i have Hantuchova today, with Ferrer in the ATP, if Benneteau manages to win the match when he's down 0-4 in the 1st. Yes, i said Ferrer. No, i dont know why i did it either.

Posted by sblily (Wheeeeeeeee!!!) 01/18/2010 at 06:10 PM

Lynne - The Ronaldo Armani pics are something, huh? Resounding "yes" from the neck down, but I just couldn't take him seriously with those eyebrows.

Hmmm... Sharapova minus a serve < Demmy. Demmy has better movement and much more solid groundstrokes. OTOH, Sharapova has a champ's mentality, so...

Posted by carnap - Jan. 25th - Burns' Supper 01/18/2010 at 06:10 PM

Mr. X: I'm holding the requiem for Daniela tonight. May she rest in peace.

Posted by Pspace (The Curse of Tommy Robredo) 01/18/2010 at 06:11 PM

Mr. X, I picked Ferru too! Assuming Benneteau survives. LOL, we're going down, bro.

Picked Czink on the WTA though...not sure if that's a good pick. But, she played well against Henin in Brisbane.

Posted by robbyfan 01/18/2010 at 06:13 PM

What is the weather like today ?

Posted by carnap - Jan. 25th - Burns' Supper 01/18/2010 at 06:13 PM

Cloudy with a chance of Vegemite.

Posted by Ruth 01/18/2010 at 06:14 PM

I wonder what would happen if a woman player (Maria?) who was having terrible trouble with her serve, for whatever reasons -- loss of confidence, bum shoulder etc -- just said: "To hail with the serve. I'm going to go back to the old, old days when the serve, for ALL players, was just the way to start the point, not a way to start and WIN a point. And I'm going to work very, very hard on every other aspect of my game --from improving my eye-hand coordination to be a better returner to disuising my drop shots etc etc etc. So, there."

What would happen to that player? Would she become like Dementieva -- a good player with great ground shots and a good record but unable to win a Slam? Or would she, because she's not going to be as frustrated as Elena has got to be when she df's while trying to make a winning serve, be able to win a whole lot more matches than Elena or any other serve-challenged or serve-strong WTA player?

Thhe answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind....:)

Posted by Pspace (The Curse of Tommy Robredo) 01/18/2010 at 06:19 PM

For some reason, I'm pretty sure Demmy will win a slam before she hangs it up. She's got a fantastic game...just a matter of getting hot for a couple of weeks.

Posted by carnap - Jan. 25th - Burns' Supper 01/18/2010 at 06:21 PM

Pspace: Then the critics will whine, "She's a one-slam wonder." Ya can't win!!

Posted by Sweet 16 01/18/2010 at 06:21 PM

Happy New Year, all!

Anybody know what time Roger is expected on le tele (east coast)? Much obliged!

Posted by VC 01/18/2010 at 06:23 PM

I think the probability of Demmy and Davydenko winning Slams before they retire is roughly equal.

Posted by Wow 01/18/2010 at 06:25 PM

Sharapova hasn't even been back a year from major shoulder surgery and we're talking about the coach, the motion, the speed , and everything in between. She will start winning tournaments again. Give it time. Its too soon. She wasn't out long enough for everyone to pass her by. She will be a major factor soon. WATCH

Posted by greenhopper 01/18/2010 at 06:26 PM

I was scared when Rafa fell down. Flashes of the infamous RG match there.
But this, is good news.

Q. Were you having some problems with your shoes or the grip on the court sometimes?

RAFAEL NADAL: No. I think the problem my shoes was a little bit more used than what I thought before the match. I was slipping a little bit more. I gonna change for next one, new ones.

Q. A bit old, were they, the shoes?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, wasn't old. But here the court, yeah, I started to play with the new shoes two days ago, but the court here is aggressive. Behind the foot was thinner than what I expected.

Posted by Mr. X 01/18/2010 at 06:29 PM

We are probably going down even before Ferrer can screw us.
Not feeling the Hantuchova, carnap? Although she apparently is not playing today/tomorrow/idontevenknowwhatdayitis. I went to check at TAT and apparently, that pick still works.

About Dementieva, it's true that she moves better than Sharapova, and she's more accurate with her groundstrokes. But mentality is a hugely important part of the game, IMO, and Demmy's is still questionable in the Slams.

Posted by Sweet 16 01/18/2010 at 06:30 PM

Harrrrrumph, what is up with this new site, took me like forever to find the good old tw folks, and when I do, it takes forever + ever to upload stuff... grrrr.

All I wanted to do was to say hello to the gentle folks at TW (I see that the usual suspects have gathered, though I wonder where have gone Tari, Sam, and all those other fella Rogiphiles... sob) and to find out what time I could expect a Rogi-sigting, gaaah.

Oh well, some things have changed, but not this old rabid Rogi fan, GO ROGER!

Posted by Mr. X 01/18/2010 at 06:31 PM

Better being a "one-Slam wonder" than a "no-slam choker", i think.

Posted by carnap - Jan. 25th - Burns' Supper 01/18/2010 at 06:33 PM


Posted by carnap - Jan. 25th - Burns' Supper 01/18/2010 at 06:42 PM

Mr. X: Correction on Daniela. Something someone said on the other thread lead me to believe her first match was against Serena. I've just rechecked the draw and see that isn't the case. Ursula Radwanska is Serena's first appetizer. May she rest in peace, Ursula, that is. So the requiem will be for Ursula, not Daniela. Please R.S.V.P. before she enters the arena.

Posted by Karen 01/18/2010 at 06:43 PM

Carnap, I think you may be underestmating Urzula. Serena may have to run a little bit tonight

Posted by Mr. X 01/18/2010 at 06:43 PM

What were your thoughts on Naranjito's match today (or yesterday, or whatever. Have i said this is very confusing?), greenhopper?
Or anyone else, for that matter.
So, he had a fall. I still remember the one at RG. It was kinda simbolic, i guess.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 01/18/2010 at 06:46 PM

My g/friend from Melbourne just rang she is a Huge Rafa fan and saw him play last night.She was a bit stunned with his 1st,thinking his Evil H/court Twin had appeared.

She also stayed on to watch the Dokic match.She said to me she has lost the "plot" in her game.She thinks she is under too much pressure and looks ready to crack.She thinks the best thing for her to do is walk away from the game.

Posted by Mr. X 01/18/2010 at 06:49 PM

I see, carnap. I chose her because she's playing someone i've never heard of, and when you said that, i though: "Wow, talk about not having any confidence in a player".
As for poor Ursula, i also think he might be heading towards her last stand, but Karen seems to think she has, at least, a chance, and she certainly knows more about the WTA than me.
If i have to be brutally honest, i mostly go with the fanboy list to make my SP picks. Hey, it worked till the SFs of the USO, where Serena took me out.

Posted by carnap - Jan. 25th - Burns' Supper 01/18/2010 at 06:49 PM

Karen: True. Nothing is carved in granite, but the odds favour Serena.

Posted by greenhopper 01/18/2010 at 06:49 PM

Hi, Mr.X. I just read Luczak's presser, he said he talked tactics with Lleyton before the match. And sure enough that guy came out swinging freely from the very first point. Rafa continued staying close to "Melbourne", missing returns and mishitting on his backhand side. His serve saved him out of trouble so many times. Up 5-3, and serving for the set, Luczak tightened up (2 dfs) and Rafa got back to playing with confidence, and Peter seemed to have lost his, till may be the last few games in the last set. Overall, an okay first round match. But, to be honest, it was nothing at all like Doha yesterday.

Posted by Master Ace 01/18/2010 at 06:50 PM

Sweet 16,
I would say around 10 PM EST for Roger but would check in early to see if both WTA matches are done. Battle of Marias was over after 10 PM.

Posted by Pspace (The Curse of Tommy Robredo) 01/18/2010 at 06:54 PM

VC, regarding Demmy and Kolya, I'd rate Elena's chances higher because slams are best of 3 for translates more directly. Kolya would need to put in a good performance against Roger or Rafa, i.e., a win or 5 set loss before I believe.

Don't know why she's considered mentally least with her new and improved serve. She came this close to beating Serena at Wimby...ah...even I would have fancied my chances on making that passer. Hehehe.

Anyways, let's see how she does against Justine...I think she's gonna beat her.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/18/2010 at 06:54 PM

Yeah you tell him GH

As Todd Woddridge who was on courtside and miked up for the match,he told Peter just to stay agressive and go for his shots which de did.

Posted by carnap - Jan. 25th - Burns' Supper 01/18/2010 at 06:59 PM

Pspace: I think Demmy will win, too.

Posted by Pspace (The Curse of Tommy Robredo) 01/18/2010 at 06:59 PM

Anyways, I'm slightly biased toward Demmy having seen her play live. Ossome!

Posted by carnap - Jan. 25th - Burns' Supper 01/18/2010 at 07:00 PM

Pspace: Correct me if I'm wrong, but did Sharapova in her post-match interview bear a strange resemblance to Flavs? Blonde, though. Maybe I just had too much tea.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/18/2010 at 07:00 PM

Fan Boy Moment Pspace!

"Ossome"?? new word I see

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/18/2010 at 07:02 PM

I have AO Open,only half of the matches they got through due to the weather

Posted by VC 01/18/2010 at 07:03 PM

Pspace : Yes, I see your logic about Demmy's chances being better than Kolya because of the best of 3 vs. best of 5. But I think Venus must also be ruing the fact that she didn't make that pass... I reckon the final would have been short and sweet in favour of Venus if Demmy had gotten through.

Rafa's serve down the T was really good yesterday and he made lots of aces. I think having a serve that gets you free points makes it so much easier to coast through these earlier rounds without playing well at times, as Roger has proved so often. Even in the Del Potro-Russell match yesterday, the serve was the difference between the two players.

Posted by Pspace (The Curse of Tommy Robredo) 01/18/2010 at 07:03 PM

carnap, didn't see the presser. And, unless Masha developed an Italian accent, I don't see how any resemblance is possible. It's not just the looks that makes a Flavia ;-).

AM, not really. I don't find Demmy that attractive....all parts look good in isolation, but she's slightly disproportionate. But, nothing to complain about, if you catch my drift ;-).

Posted by mellow yellow 01/18/2010 at 07:04 PM

robbyfan, I totally agree with you on Jeff Tarango. And paring him with Barry McKay is just awful. Anyone know if Jimmy Connors or John McEnroe are doing commentary for Tennis Channel?

Posted by Pspace (The Curse of Tommy Robredo) 01/18/2010 at 07:04 PM

And, "ossome" is copyrighted by Bissy. Where is the dude?

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/18/2010 at 07:04 PM

Pspace I know you too well

Posted by Sweet 16 01/18/2010 at 07:06 PM

Master Ace, merci bucket! Like I said, some things don't change, not even at the revamped TW... 10 pm, I've got a date with le tele! ;)

Posted by Pspace (The Curse of Tommy Robredo) 01/18/2010 at 07:07 PM

siggy, that you? If so, *meow*

Posted by Mr. X 01/18/2010 at 07:07 PM

"Yeah you tell him GH"
Nice to see that i have been downgraded to "him". Soon, i'll be "that guy":)

Thanks, greenhopper. Certainly that first set doesnt sound like Doha, where he was having opponents like Luczak for breakfast. I've read his words and he admits that he was feeling "nervous" at the start of the match. Well, it's good that things got back on track, and even better that the serve was working well. If you want to look at the bright side (*whistles "Always look at the bright side of life"*), i seem to remember that in his first match in RG 08, his opponent (i believe it was Bellucci), also served for the 1st set, and then we know what happened.
Wow, that sounded way too delusional.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/18/2010 at 07:07 PM

Sam Stosur first on Rod Laver

Sam please get your game on today

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/18/2010 at 07:08 PM

Mr X Dont tempt me ok

Posted by Karen 01/18/2010 at 07:11 PM

TC seems to have live stream of matches but it is not available where I am. I would be grateful to find out where you have to be to watch TC online. Can anyone here help? Thanks

Posted by Mr. X 01/18/2010 at 07:12 PM

"But, nothing to complain about, if you catch my drift ;-)."
As the saying goes here in Spain, "En peores plazas hemos toreao", which roughly means "We've been in worst places than that":)

OK, i've made my decission, and i'm gonna check out how our second on board, FeVer, starts the tournament. We need some backup for Naranjito, you know. Besides, if he plays the way he can, he is able to give anyway a good run. Now, if he played the way he can more often...
With that in mind, Go Fernando, Spain's #2! (du er den bedste)

Posted by tommy 01/18/2010 at 07:13 PM

The way I remember Kournikova is that she reached the Wimbledon SF right after her 16th birthday. Still at 16, she beat 4 top 10 players and made the Miami final. When she turned 17 she beat Graf at Eastbourne and Bud Collins picked her to win Wimbledon. But she hurt the thumb on her racket hand in the Graf match and missed a few months.

When she came back she was never as good as before. Then she had a sress fracture in her leg after a bad fall, and again when she came back, her level had dropped again. Then she had back problems that led to her early retirement.

Sharapova had rotator cuff surgery in her serving shoulder. It's possible she will never approach her AO 2008 level.

That happens to athletes in all sports.

Posted by sokol 01/18/2010 at 07:15 PM

6 screens and nothing really interesting...
I wish they showed Berdych

oh, wait, Vedasco's match is about to start, I guess I'll watch that

Posted by Mr. X 01/18/2010 at 07:15 PM

Verdasco is playing Aussie big guy Carsten Ball. I think i remmeber him playing against Djoko (maybe in the USO?). First thing anybody would notice is that he's big, so i'm assuming he has a pretty good serve.
By the way, considering the "things" you see out there, Verdasco's outfit is pretty decent, IMO.

Posted by carnap - Jan. 25th - Burns' Supper 01/18/2010 at 07:17 PM

Ana/Shenay on serve 2-1 Ana with Shenay serving to even the score.

Posted by phillykat 01/18/2010 at 07:18 PM

Hi all. watching on Directv mix, the stands for Mirza-Reazia are amazingly empty.

and Rezai brought back her vegas showgirl dress. awful.

Posted by just a note 01/18/2010 at 07:18 PM

Karen - I'm watching TTC in Eastern US, Connecticut to be specific. Anna I. v. Shenay Perry.

Hi everyone! Just quitely watching tennis and checking in here once and awhile. Enjoy@

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/18/2010 at 07:18 PM

Sam Stosur to serve first

Crap love 30 already

Posted by sokol 01/18/2010 at 07:18 PM

Rezai is wearing that golden dress again...

Posted by Pspace (The Curse of Tommy Robredo) 01/18/2010 at 07:19 PM

Ball reached the final of that tournament (LA?) where he played Sam Q in the final if I recall. He got game.

Posted by Mr. X 01/18/2010 at 07:19 PM

You are right about the effect of injuries, tommy, although many think (and they might very well be right) that Kournikova's "extracurricular activities" were too much of a distraction. Which, translated, means that she was too pretty and she knew it:)
Of course, she was succesful in doubles, as part of the ultimate "dream team", which might have been the best thing ever:)

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/18/2010 at 07:19 PM

Love 40 now Sam

Help me I need to go to the Drug Cabinet

This is shades of Safina's matches

Posted by VC 01/18/2010 at 07:19 PM

"With that in mind, Go Fernando, Spain's #2! (du er den bedste)"

I think that's a contradiction. I remember reading here that the phrase "du er den bedste" translates to "you are the best".

Posted by Jbradhunter iPhone edition 01/18/2010 at 07:20 PM

Wow Serena and Vee drew some tough first round opponents

if Shenay can just stay consistent she may have a chance in this match

Posted by sokol 01/18/2010 at 07:20 PM

man... that guy (Ball) is big...
Vamos, Nando!

Posted by carnap - Jan. 25th - Burns' Supper 01/18/2010 at 07:20 PM

Ana serving at 3-1

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/18/2010 at 07:21 PM

Sam gets broken her her first game,Triple Pfft.

Han 1-0

David Taylor throw soemthing at her please.ASAP

Posted by just a note 01/18/2010 at 07:21 PM

That was supposed to be - Enjoy the tennis! I imagine they're showing this match because Shenay is American.

Posted by Codge 01/18/2010 at 07:21 PM

Karen - Sorry :-(

Posted by phillykat 01/18/2010 at 07:21 PM

the way Rezai played ReRe at Medibank, and how Mirza's been stinking up the joint of late, this match should go quickly.

Posted by VC 01/18/2010 at 07:22 PM

"By the way, considering the "things" you see out there, Verdasco's outfit is pretty decent, IMO."

You and me are the only ones who seem to like it. I'm a big fan of it, actually. One of the best men's tennis outfits I've seen in a long time.

Posted by Mr. X 01/18/2010 at 07:22 PM

FeVer holds to start the match after saving 2 BPs, that Ball got being very agressive with his 2nd serve returns (Fernando, i think you can do more with that 2nd serve), and charging the net. But from there, Verdasco got more 1st serves, and was able to control the points with his FH. He seems to not be playing at full pace, both with his serve and his groundstrokes. He can hit much harder than that, specially the FH.

Posted by Pspace (The Curse of Tommy Robredo) 01/18/2010 at 07:23 PM

LOL, didn't Ball's coach tell him about Nando's magic fh? He's not going to win any points going there....put it on your bh dude.

Posted by Skw 01/18/2010 at 07:23 PM

Interesting analysis on why Sharapova may be in the midst of an eclipse. She, like most of the women on tour, is becoming afraid of the return. She is so busy thinking of the return it seems, that she feels even more pressure to serve well.
The great servers on the other hand seem to not be thinking like that. I remember at last year's Wimbledon, Serena was facing match point against Elena D and was asked afterwards what she was thinking. Her response, "Ace". When many of the other women are asked the same question, they respond, "I was just trying to make a first serve and get the ball deep."

Posted by VC 01/18/2010 at 07:23 PM

C'mon Sania!

Posted by greenhopper 01/18/2010 at 07:23 PM

lol, Mr.X. I like how you think.

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