Peter Bodo's TennisWorld - Kim Time?
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Kim Time? 01/05/2010 - 1:54 PM

95583687 by Pete Bodo

I've been thinking about Kim Clijsters a fair amount these past few days; I think she's going to have a big -- a very big -- 2010. So she's my choice as the most likely player of the year on the women's side; later this week, I'll also choose a potential male PoY for 2010.

My feelings about Clijsters didn't really crystallize until I read and thought about the return of Justine Henin. Yes, these two Belgians are joined at the metaphorical hip, and have been for a long time. And one reason I think Clijsters will do well is because 2010 represents a great opportunity for her finally to escape from Henin's shadow. I'm sure she wouldn't mind at all if she also puts Henin into her own. Payback. It's an itch.

The Clijsters saga, despite all those elements that could be stitched onto a sampler pillow, seems so artfully constructed that Kim or her advisers couldn't possibly have dreamed it up. In 2007, when she "retired" (it's a prettier word than "quit"), she had one Grand Slam title to her credit, and a long history as a talented but woefully choke-prone competitor. She was 1-5 in major finals, and 12-10 against her nemesis, the dynamo Henin. But keep in mind that from 2001 to 2003, Clijsters dominated Henin, including in some major events; from 2003 on, the tables were dramatically turned. The turning point came in Berlin, in 2003, where Henin squeaked out a win, 7-5 in the third. A few weeks later, the Sister of No Mercy surrendered just four games to Clijsters in a brutal Roland Garros final, winning 6-0, 6-4. That opened the floodgates: from that point on, Henin was 8-3 (4-0 in major finals) against Clijsters.

Clijsters also suffered at the hands of Venus Williams, although a few wins late in their rivalry helped Clijsters build the H2H to a respectable 5-6. Champagne Kimmy was less successful against Venus's sister, Serena, who was 7-1 (and 2-0 in majors) against Clijsters at the time the latter took her break from tennis. Clijsters did manage to wave good-bye with a positive H2H against Maria Sharapova, 4-3, although she was 1-1 against Maria in Grand Slam semis. Clijsters was a narrow 8-7 with Amelie Mauresmo, but hey - she owned that other Grand Slam champ, Svetlana Kuznetsova (7-1)! Didn't everyone?

Given all this, you might be inclined to think that Clijsters was totally bummed out when she heard that Justine Henin was following her out of seclusion, but the operative word there is "following." Henin is the one doing the following now, which is a 180-degree shift, and symbolic in a larger sense of where the two women stand in relation to each other. Given the way Clijsters stole the summer headlines in '09, the message seems clear: Clijsters has re-invented herself (that cute little kid of Clijsters is, among other things, a convenient distraction, although Clijsters certainly doesn't see it that way). The problem for Henin is that there was nothing to re-invent; she just faces the challenge of getting back to what she once was. She's burning a different form of emotional fuel.

The other day, in my post at ESPN, I went into the reasons that Henin might have a tougher row to hoe in her comeback than did Clijsters. I wrote that because her game is rooted in finesse and versatility, it may take her a long time to find her timing and turn her on-court decision-making into an instinctive reaction. But there's a little more to it than that. When I compared Clijsters to a four-wheel drive pick-up truck and Henin to a Ferrari, I was also thinking about where the game is, in general, and what it takes to win - on both tours.

Men's tennis has become, over recent years, a much more physical game. Pure power no longer reaps enormous benefits in the form of aces or winners the way it once did; it now pays off in long-haul stamina. Not just the ability to run for a long time, but the ability to maintain racket-head speed, quick-start muscle reactions, consistency of stroke. The relatively new polyester strings have played a part in this evolution; the harder you swing now, the more confident you can feel that the shot will go in. This has had a huge impact on the game (although we've seen that mostly in the men's game - so far).

A racket isn't a very heavy object, but when you have to swing it accurately, with something like full force, for two-and-a-half hours or longer, it can feel like an anvil. This will be an increasingly big factor in the women's game, too - just as serving power and efficiency is a new frontier that the women are finally beginning to explore.

Clijsters is well-positioned to take advantage of these developments, because she's an exceptionally physical athlete. A few weeks ago, Caroline Wozniacki told me (she was talking about her U.S. Open final against Clijsters): "That was the first time I’ve played her. She’s hitting a heavy ball. Every time you play short, she takes another step forward and wants to be the first to attack. She’s a good runner, too, and a fighter. I wouldn’t call it a different level from the other girls, but she was fresh and relaxed. She’s accomplished all she wanted already, so she’s just playing for herself and her family. I could feel she was relaxed and enjoying the game."

With all due respect to Caroline, I'm thinking it might be a different level.

We all love to watch tennis matches, and sometimes we get in too wrapped up in the details of the game - how someone hit the ball on a certain day against a certain opponent. We can learn a lot from that, but there's a forest-and-trees element at play, because so much of what happens in any specific match is determined by form of the day. We get a better understanding of the game if we look at how a player's fundamental profile fits into the gestalt. To me, the game is becoming more and more physical, and Wozniacki's experience puts into perspective the threat Clijsters represents to her peers and rivals.

If you want to read a counter-point, check out the piece Tom Tebbutt wrote for ESPN on this subject. Tom is a tennis aesthete who worships at the altar of Federer, irretrievably in love with "beautiful" tennis. And with Henin back and Roger Federer in command of the men's game until someone says otherwise, fans of pretty tennis are experiencing glory days. I'm not sure how much longer that will be sustainable, though. Last year's men's U.S. Open final was telling to me, in that it represented the first time that someone other than Rafael Nadal was able to play the game on his own terms on a big stage and get the best of Federer. Against Juan Martin del Potro in that final, Federer took his familiar position: Play any way you want; I'll still find a way to beat you. Del Potro responded with: Okay, its power tennis, with the emphasis on physicality.

In that match, Federer was banking on his formidable abilities to transition from defense to offense - to absorb del Potro's most punishing blows and use them roughly the way wise Yoda used The Force in Star Wars. Yoda, of course, was much older than Federer (Yoda was 900-plus years when he died; that's older than Jonas Bjorkman!) and his complexion was considerably greener than that of the olive-skinned Swiss. But in the end, Federer was unable to turn del Potro's power against him, and he spent most of the match futilely chasing rockets. Even when he did catch up with them, they were too hot to handle and fire back.

For different reasons, Clijsters took a similar, Federer-esque attitude into her U.S. Open semifinal with Serena Williams, but she came away with a different result (the match was close enough before the bizarre ending to draw that conclusion, no matter what might have happened at the end in a more conventional scenario). And she was one of the very few women who managed to resist Serena's shoving and pressing and athletic bullying.

95509212 The first time around, Clijsters suffered some injuries that hampered her effectiveness and probably contributed to her disappointing results in the late stages at some big events. But her game, specifically her physical attributes and abilities, were never in question. Like the lion in the Wizard of Oz, the thing she most needed was a heart. Other players, including Pete Sampras and Martina Navratilova, have faced and conquered a similar shortcoming. There's no reason Clijsters can't do it as well. If she's managed to banish her demons and her smoldering resentment of the way Henin once stole her thunder, she's positioned to flourish.

Now that the Williams sisters are nearing the finish line of their careers and appear to be in some stage of physical decline, Clijsters moves up is an ideal specimen for an increasingly physical game.


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Posted by Sophie 01/06/2010 at 11:49 AM

I think Rafa played really well today and the faces were largely because he was being a perfectionist and had the odd sloppy miss.

For this stage of the season, I'm very impressed with Nadal's form. I don't remember him playing this well this early for a number of seasons.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 01/06/2010 at 11:50 AM

Hmm, Rafa. I have seen Starace play much better than he did today. What's with all the face pulling?

Posted by mina (meanie and proud of it) 01/06/2010 at 11:50 AM

sorry abt the errors, i blame the frazzling

Posted by rafadoc 01/06/2010 at 11:50 AM

I heard that GH and some of those shots-especially the one you referred to in that last game had some amazing pace to me. I feel good about Rafa's game.

I have no idea why he was so expressive today. Maybe he is just trying to do his part since we no longer have Marat and the Magician. ??? ;-)

Posted by greenhopper 01/06/2010 at 11:51 AM

When did he double fault?

64% 1st serves in. 81% 1st serve points won. 50% on 2nd.
31 winners (3 aces), 17 ufes (1 df)
4/5 bps converted. No bps faced.

57:36 total points won.

says the live stream.

Posted by CL 01/06/2010 at 11:51 AM

So Fed and Rafa rock on. My poor Potito got mashed. Fed plays Ernsie next, no? Whatever will Crazyone do? I know what I will do...frazzle some. Kid is very talented and already seems to be in a better place than last year.

Who does Rafa play next?

Posted by Andrew 01/06/2010 at 11:52 AM

OK. Congratulations to Nadal fans, commiserations to Starace fans. Nadal won 57/36, or 61% to 39% - a thumping. Didn't see the match, but seems like a very efficient evening's work.

Posted by rafadoc 01/06/2010 at 11:52 AM

I want to hit with Rafa. *pouts*

Well, he is certainly smiley now.

Posted by mina (meanie and proud of it) 01/06/2010 at 11:53 AM

Rafadoc, just read fr the AO fb page that Santoro looks very interested in playing Melbourne

Posted by greenhopper 01/06/2010 at 11:53 AM

heh, r'doc. but Mr. Magician will be back for the AO I hear.
can't lie, am excited!

Posted by Tfactor 01/06/2010 at 11:53 AM

Awww, I love that smile!!
Cute moment there smiling all the time while hitting with the young boy

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 11:53 AM

GH Thanks.His serve especially on first serve points won was good

His serve has been really consistant which it has to especially on a h/court

Posted by rafadoc 01/06/2010 at 11:54 AM

Rafa plays Darcis next.

Commiserations to fans of Potito.

Glad for the win and that Rafa's game looks to be in good shape.

Thanks for the stats GH! I don't remember the DF either.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 01/06/2010 at 11:55 AM

Yes, he is all smiley again. I have to go and shower - it is almost 1200 noon and I'm still in my nightclothes! I wouldn't do that for anyone but Rafa ... see you later guys.

Posted by rafadoc 01/06/2010 at 11:56 AM

Thanks GH and Mina. I didn't know the Magician will be in Melbourne. Well, good. I enjoy him. :)

Posted by Tfactor 01/06/2010 at 11:56 AM

Comments talking and praising GH's fave: Lucas Kubot ;-)

Gulbis and Seppi up next

Posted by Tfactor 01/06/2010 at 11:57 AM

I meant to say *commies*

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 11:57 AM

GH he d/faulted in that crap service game in the 2nd set

Posted by rafadoc 01/06/2010 at 11:57 AM

Bye Lynne!

I have to run too. Enjoy the tennis everyone. See you all later.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 01/06/2010 at 12:00 PM

me too. gotta run. back later.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 01/06/2010 at 12:00 PM

That was more comprehensive than I thought it would be...seems like a lot of errors though. Lovely fast rally to end the match.

Still...he got to the QF last year, no? So I guess that means those points are defended at least. I don't remember him playing particularly well in Doha last year, either.

Posted by Tfactor 01/06/2010 at 12:04 PM

Hi Jewell, I also remember his play last year in Doha wasn't great.
This year I'm really hoping for a Fedal here. Hope I don't jinx either of them

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 12:05 PM

Well Rafa/Marc won the doubles in Doha,not a bad result

Anway too early in the season

Posted by CL 01/06/2010 at 12:05 PM

I read at RF.com that it was really windy which may have affected the quality of play somewhat.

So, wait...Gulbis isn't through yet? Ooop...must try and keep up.

Are there still any linkys for Doha...would be curious to see Gulbis and Seppi.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 01/06/2010 at 12:05 PM

Hiya Tfactor! How are you?

That would be lovely, it's been a long time. :)

Posted by Alexis 01/06/2010 at 12:05 PM

I see that both Rafa and Roger had easy times today - pretty much expected. Actually unless Rafa breaks his leg, there is no way he doesn't make the final. I think even the Rafa fans realize that the bottom half is markedly easier than the top half. If Roger makes the final, he will most likely have to go through either Davydenko or Karlovic. Even Roger's next match is no gimme with either Gulbis or Seppi, although I would expect him to get through. Rafa should skate past Darcis (who?).

Posted by Tfactor 01/06/2010 at 12:06 PM

CL,
http://www.justin.tv//poipoi283#r=FT0RY1w

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 12:08 PM

CL The conditions have been very windy

I hope Young Earnie can have a better year this year,he has soo much talent

Ok CI where are you,also Beckham

Posted by Tfactor 01/06/2010 at 12:08 PM

Jewell,
I'm Ok. Hope you're keeping warm. I read where you said you're snowed in.

Yes it's been a long time but I know I shouldn't get ahead of myself. Hoping they both get the most out of this tournament as they look forward to AO.

Posted by greenhopper 01/06/2010 at 12:09 PM

AM, he did? I missed a few shots right then, was on phone.

At least 5 of those ufes were sitter volley misses. Don't know what was going on there.

Wait, did Ernie shave off his ghastly beard from his prev. match?
Ernie and Fed have not played each other yet, have they?

Posted by Alexis 01/06/2010 at 12:11 PM

No greenhopper, Roger and Ernests have never played each other.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 12:11 PM

GH Rafa has to take some pace off the volley I think,to me thats a reason he stuffed up those volleys

Posted by observer 01/06/2010 at 12:15 PM

Gulbis is another person that I like and would like to see do better this year (can't get much worse than 09). He's very talented and fun to watch. Showed a lot of promise in USO 09 match with Murray, thought he might have an upset in the making there for a while.

Seppi has reminded me why I have a natural aversion to players wearing Fila-- ghastly. Not nearly as bad as that weird yellow and red w/ pinstripe number some of them were wearing this past summer though.

Posted by greenhopper 01/06/2010 at 12:16 PM

lol, true, AM. He's prolly taking the being aggressive thing very aggressively.

Benji Becker is up a set on the rapper. Watch out, world.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 12:16 PM

Jason said that Seppi has a worse serve than somen women in the WTA?

Ouch!!!

Earnie serve is just soo fluid and the bext technical serve going.Its a joy to watch

Posted by CL 01/06/2010 at 12:16 PM

Thanks TFactor.

Dr. Ivo - ugh. And not in any personal way...but just ugh.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 12:22 PM

Isee Feds trainer is here to watch this match

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 12:24 PM

Earnie still looks about 15 to me lol!

Great serve game Earnie,that 2nd serve Wow!

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 01/06/2010 at 12:25 PM

I feel guilty for moaning about the cold, Tfactor, now that Andrew's mentioned -21 C. ;-) But it is cold for here...at least, that's my excuse. :) The power has stayed on so keeping warm is easy for the moment.

I guess that's the main thing, AO preparation.

Posted by CL 01/06/2010 at 12:26 PM

Aussiemarge - Luthi?

Poor Ernsie and Seppi - not only are there hardly any people in the stands, but even the live streaming chat room is empty. lol.

Posted by observer 01/06/2010 at 12:26 PM

Do you guys think Tomic will win a match at this year's AO? Who was it he beat last year, Starace or Fognini? And what's the latest news in Australian gossip news about the feud with Hewitt?

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 12:29 PM

CI Yes,he must be doing some scouting for Roger.Though no worries.I think Roger can easily work out both guys games.

Posted by Nic 01/06/2010 at 12:31 PM

Starace and it very much depends on the draw.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 12:35 PM

Observer. Well from what I read from Fox sport news which I posted.The Fued is still going on.Lleyton said he dosent worry about it and dosent lose sleep over it either.

Typical Lleyton comment.He is the elder one here and for the sake of unity in our DC team should show some type of maturity and leadership and sort things out Now.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 12:42 PM

Blah,Earnie gets a break,then gets broken back in his next service game.mmmm.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 12:43 PM

I must say I love their choice of music in these breaks.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 12:44 PM

Ahh my stream has frozen,with the score 5-4 Earnie

Posted by Flyer 01/06/2010 at 12:44 PM

Would like to see Ernie get thru - but then hope Fed smooshes said Mr E big time.

Match kinda interesting.......

But think will go to bed soooooon.

Who's playing today (tonight USA) in Aussie Land?

Roddick?

Posted by Flyer 01/06/2010 at 12:46 PM

Ernie takes it on a DF.

Boy does he (Gulbis) look hyper - what gives??????????

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 12:47 PM

Flyer Not quite sure when Andy plays next

He played day session Wednesday against Ball of Australia.

Today being Thursday here.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 12:48 PM

Flyer Also its only 4.47am here lol!

Posted by CL 01/06/2010 at 12:48 PM

What does -21C translate as F? Because our temperature has fluctuated wildly, (not) between 0F and 15F now for nearly 6 weeks. Also, it has snowed every day for about a week. Not all that much each day...people up in Burlington got blasted by 33 inches in just 2 days...but enough to add up. Of course it makes for nice xcountry skiing so I can't complain too much...and there is no wind so the snow is sticking to EVERY single branch and twig...it looks like one of the elf homes from LOTR. Exquisitely beautiful, but....brisk.

Posted by Kwaku 01/06/2010 at 12:49 PM

Why is Kim Time? being used as Your Call if it is as red-meat/on-topic as, say, The Elite, Part 4? As I said somewhere else, what's funny about the (re)introduction of the Watercooler concept is that it was meant to make it clear what is on-topic and what is not, and also to give the 'right' image of the site to newcomers... but the fact is that we 'regulars' still find it often difficult to locate where the 'action' is (ask Or et al.)...

Furthermore, the "action" (match calling / real-time commenting) will happen at one place or another, because it is difficult to refrain us people from it (ask AM!), so why not clearly mark a place as "where the action currently is"? Otherwise TWibers might even go somewhere else (i.e. where they can comment freely).

Anyway: I saw both Fed's and Nadal's matches. Both played supbar but well enough to beat their opponents authoritatively. Korolev played better than Starace imo, but that means little at this stage of the tournament.

Posted by observer 01/06/2010 at 12:52 PM

Oh, I was using Kim Time as the talking thread because it's the one tennis.com links to from the site under Pete's column still. I didn't even know there was a newer one.

Posted by CL 01/06/2010 at 12:58 PM

Kwaku - I agree about site non management situation. What seems to be happening is that the peasants just take their posting pitchforks and start match calls where ever and when ever seems most appropriate. Like now, it seems more appropriate to do match calls and discussions here rather than at Andrew's Elite/Stats thread. But we need to leave each other messages about where the match calls have gone to. Of course it SHOULD be up to Pete and his 'team' to create a more coherent format, but perhaps they are busy with other things and/or adjusting to the new layout themselves. (I... ALMOST... always give them the benefit of the doubt since it IS their party...as I sometimes have to remind myself...***cough, cough**)

BTW -did anyone see the Byrdy Baggy match? Seems like it was a real beatdown which is a bit surprising since Baggy seemed to be playing better at the end of last year. Bismarck would know, but he doesn't show up here much anymore. ***sulks***

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 12:59 PM

This has become soo confusing

What post are we suppose to be on then?

At least with the older site,we knew where we should be?

I am too old for this and its too early in the morning here

Master Ace If you are around can you please clarify this current situation ?

Posted by Flyer 01/06/2010 at 01:11 PM

We should have a thread clearly Labled and Dated for: Match Calls/Reviews - and this should be on the front page.

The listing of the most recent 4 or so blogs on the front page was a much better method to keep track of what was happening on the site.

TW could still "highlight" the one each writter would like - but they should have the listings on the front page - too much hunting & pecking now to try and find out what's happening & if I'm up to date.

If I was new to the site - I'd be totally confused - and would probably opt to go to another site to find out what was happening with the matches.

Posted by Flyer 01/06/2010 at 01:13 PM

BTW - where are all the Gulbis fans?

Thought he seemed to be getting a better following last year - no one around now?

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 01:15 PM

Flyer My stream to his match died

have you a score pls?

Posted by Flyer 01/06/2010 at 01:17 PM

Hi AM

Sorry - my system just went poof also - had to sign back onto the net and lost the transmission.

Happened when I tried to post on this thread - it now freezes my computer - have no idea what the hell has been going on the last few days but my patience is nearly at an end.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 01:20 PM

Flyer No worries


Last score I had was 5-4 Earnie 1st set

Posted by greenhopper 01/06/2010 at 01:24 PM

My most fav. player ever, Kubot, along with Darcis, just missed out on a great chance to beat the STB heroes Cermak/Mertinak. Can he do ONE thing right?

And I see Benji doesn't want the world to get too excited just yet. Smart move.

Posted by just a note 01/06/2010 at 01:26 PM

http://www.freedocast.com/forms/PopOut.aspx?sc=530C426A31DD213F109B

This one is working. Ernie took the 1st set 6/4 and is up 6/5 in the second with Andreas to serve.

Posted by Tfactor 01/06/2010 at 01:27 PM

Back at work.

Jewell,
Living in 90F (30C) weather year round I find anything cold :)

I agree it's very confusing right now on this site. I've seen posts which I was sure were read meat posts evolving into YC threads. In addition, I'm having problems refreshing/accessing the site at times. I hope things get resolved in time for the heavier traffic expected during AO.

I see Ivo got through. I thought for a moment there BB had a chance.
Since his first match I've also been wondering where Gulbis fans went.

Posted by Flyer 01/06/2010 at 01:27 PM

AM:

Gulbis should have won - he was serving for the set - so unless "sumton" happened - he's in the locker room with a smile on his face.

Posted by Flyer 01/06/2010 at 01:28 PM

Hmm - maybe not - according to "just A Note" match may still be going on.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 01:30 PM

Thanks Just a Note

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 01:31 PM

No worries Flyer

Posted by Pspace (Lookin' for Court No. 3) 01/06/2010 at 01:32 PM

Great game by Ernie to break and take the match. Elf-style Howitzer fh on match point. Can't wait to see him play Federer.

Posted by Flyer 01/06/2010 at 01:32 PM

NOW

I really have to find out why when I use another browser - Explorer - (I'm on AOL now)- my posts do NOT get recorded.

Have asked this before and no one seems to know why - I've even tried FireFox and nadda.

The only posts that show up are when I come on via AOL.

I use to be able to post from multiple accesses - but no longer - wonder if the site is blocking me for some reason?

Wish I could get this corrected as the AOL often has problems.....

Posted by greenhopper 01/06/2010 at 01:33 PM

6-4 7-5 Gulbis, according to the ATP scoreboard.

Posted by Flyer 01/06/2010 at 01:36 PM

Jimminy Cricket!

Won't be able to see Fed's match tomorrow.

Hope it is a lovely smooshing by Rog over Ernie........

Sorry Mr. E - if it was nearly anyone else I'd support ya - but forget it me bucko!

Posted by Pspace (Lookin' for Court No. 3) 01/06/2010 at 01:38 PM

Also impressive was Ernie's movement. Some Rafa-esque side-to-side gets...well, almost. This could be the year...hehe.

Posted by Tfactor 01/06/2010 at 01:41 PM

Pspace,
Are you thinking of jumping from the Mandywagon to the Gulbis train? :-)

I do hope he does better this year, 2009 was not good at all.

Posted by Pspace (Lookin' for Court No. 3) 01/06/2010 at 01:42 PM

I recall last year there was some discussion of Fed's vision technique, i.e., looking at the ball _through the strings_ at the contact point. Here's a nice pic that illustrates it:

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/47048000/jpg/_47048073_federer226.jpg

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 01:42 PM

Pspace Stop with the "jinx".In the frist set Earnie broke and then his serve left the building and Seppi broke straight back.Earnie has to stop this,shades of last year.Though the kid has soo much talent.I hope 2010 is a better year for him

Though he still looks 15 to me lol!

Posted by Nic 01/06/2010 at 01:46 PM

We'll see. First Ernie has to consistantly turn up to tournaments.

Posted by Pspace (Lookin' for Court No. 3) 01/06/2010 at 01:47 PM

Tfactor, hehe, no way. Not a huge fan of his game yet, as I don't really see anything unique about him. But, certainly like watching.

Posted by Ashutosh 01/06/2010 at 01:48 PM

Well I just wanted to say something - not everyone owns Svetlana. She has respectable H2H records against Venus, Maria and Amelie. And all her matches against Serena are really tight, with Serena winning most because of her mental strength. The only players who've thoroughly outplayed Svetlana are Justine (15-2 or something!), Kim and Ana Ivanovic.

Kim and Svetlana happen to be my favorite players on tour. While I was really happy that you said such good things about Kim, the remark on Sveta made me a bit sad.

Posted by sokol 01/06/2010 at 01:53 PM

hong Kong pictures (mostly Masha and Vera)
http://www.gotennis.ru/news/?p=33461

Posted by Pspace (Lookin' for Court No. 3) 01/06/2010 at 01:53 PM

Hehehe...this just cracked me up. ROFL.

"""
Rafael Nadal has signed an endorsement deal with Quely, a cookie and bakery products company. Nadal became the new brand ambassador on January 1, 2010.
"""

http://www.worldtennismagazine.com/archives/1346

The man knows what he likes.

Posted by sokol 01/06/2010 at 01:53 PM

"the remark on Sveta made me a bit sad.'

+1

Posted by Justin 01/06/2010 at 01:53 PM

Hey Pete,
I didn't read all the responses to see if anybody else noticed this but: The Lion in the Wizard of Oz wanted COURAGE not a Heart. The Tin Man wanted a heart! If you're going to use an analogy, then use it correctly.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 01:55 PM

Pspace Thanks,but thats old news regarding Rafa and his cookies

Look to see him munch on those now in between points

Posted by CL 01/06/2010 at 01:58 PM

Hmmmm......yummmmm. If Fed's Lindt chocolates meet Rafa cookies, I see...CALORIES!! lol. But yummy calories.

***waves to Pspace*** RF.com has tons of pictures after every Fed match and his ability to do the simplest, yet most difficult thing...WATCH THE BALL...is unparalleled IMO. I also noticed, that compared to most people on the tour...men and women...his face is remarkably relaxed at the moment of impact.

Posted by greenhopper 01/06/2010 at 01:59 PM

Thanks, sokol. I like Vera's kit. But what exactly is Masha wearing?
I remember JJ sporting tights last year. It must be pretty cold in Hong Kong.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 01:59 PM

Yes how we forget the RG 09 champion Sevta?

Kuzzy found her game and herself in that tournament,after a frustrating time.She went back to live in Russia,change coach.

I have always been a fan.I have seen her play live.She is a great athlete in the wommens tour.

I hope her 2010 season will be a good one.Hopefully winning her 2nd GS title will be a great confidence booster for her as well.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 02:06 PM

In Hopman Cup today Australia have to win all 3 ties to have a chance to make it to the final on Saturday.They will play Spain.

Vamos Spain.

Posted by Pspace (Lookin' for Court No. 3) 01/06/2010 at 02:06 PM

Hey CL *waves back*. Yeah, that whole watching the ball is ridiculous. In fact, I've heard several coaches recommend that you shouldn't watch it that closely. From personal experience, I always feel a little disoriented when watching the ball on the strings, as the racquet head is moving fast...and it kind of hurts your eyes. "Through the strings" is my mantra for 2010. Although Fed (and Rafa) play the ball so far in front of them, due to their wristy technique....hard for mere mortals.

Posted by sokol 01/06/2010 at 02:07 PM

I think Zhenya is a liability for a team in Hong Kong :-), I wish Marat was there, it would have been a great team

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 02:08 PM

In Brisbane later today we have

The Queen and Aussie Kim playing.

Posted by greenhopper 01/06/2010 at 02:11 PM

AM shows where her allegiance is at!
Did you watch Sam and Lleyton play doubles? I haven't yet, but read somewhere that they weren't communicating very well.

Posted by Master Ace 01/06/2010 at 02:11 PM

Thursday Order of Play

All times are USA EST

WTA: Auckland starts at 5 PM - QF: Peer/Kirilenko, Date Krumm/Wickmayer, and Pennetta/Cibulkova
WTA: Brisbane starts at 7:30 PM - QF: Pavlyuchenkova/Ivanovic, Hantuchova/Petkovic, and Czink/Henin
ATP: Brisbane starts at 7:30 PM - QF: Odesnik vs Stepanek
HOPMAN: Australia vs Spain at 9 PM in Perth - Stosur vs Martinez Sanchez to start session on first court followed by Hewitt vs Robredo
HOPMAN: Romania vs United States at 9 PM in Perth - Cirstea vs Oudin to start session on second court followed by Hanescu vs Isner
WTA: Auckland starts at 1:30 AM - QF: Schiavone vs Cornet
MIXED: Brisbane starts at 4 AM - QF: Clijsters/Safarova and Blake/Monfils
ATP: Chennai starts at 6:30 AM - Wawrinka, Sela, and Ginepri are scheduled
ATP: Doha starts at TBD - QF: Federer/Gulbis, Davydenko/Karlovic, Troicki/Kubot, and Darcis/Nadal

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 02:15 PM

GH They played a great 1st set against USA,then seem to take their foot off the peddle and played too passive.Lleyton said he had not played doubles for ages and was rusty,mind the pun.

Posted by Alexis 01/06/2010 at 02:17 PM

Not positive about the Doha OOP. But I heard that Fed/Gulbis is 3rd up. Not sure about anyone else.

Posted by Master Ace 01/06/2010 at 02:20 PM

Greenhopper,
Heard that about a lot of teams in Perth beside Australia? Aussiemarg can probably tell us who. Also, heard that Philipp is not performing well so far which is costing Germany as Sabine is playing Top 10 tennis. Daniel/Nenad start 2010 just like 2009(where they lost their opening match 9 times which cost them the top spot) while Lukas/Leander is taking care of business along with James/RAndy

Posted by Master Ace 01/06/2010 at 02:22 PM

Alexis,
Once I see OOP, I will rearrange Ace OOP to reflect this.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 02:23 PM

Phik K in the doubles yeaterday played some bad shots.His f/hand was bad.He said that himeself he has to do more work on his f/hand

Laura Robson was the star for GB in the mixed doubles.I think she is really enjoying this expierence and it showed more in the mixed doubles.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 02:25 PM

Elena D. serve? oh my can you imagine the results in her career with a more consistant serve,that dosent let her down on Big points.

Posted by CL 01/06/2010 at 02:25 PM

Pspace - well, generally speaking, my racket head speed is so slow that it is not so much of a problem for me...lol. But I do agree that sometimes watching the ball 'THAT' closely can be disorienting. Still, I flove watchin' Fed do it. :-)

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