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Contrary Optimism 01/12/2010 - 2:26 PM

95663949 by Pete Bodo

Howdy, folks. I hope you all check out our latest Tennis.com podcast (or just click on the icon on the Tennis home page). The sound quality is much better than in the past, because golden-throated Andy Nelson (who does the canned intro to each weekly broadcast) sprang for a few first-class microphones for us.

Ever see a broadcast of a radio show, and how the talent (does that word apply to us, too?) always have their face and lips right up against a mike suspended in a cage dangling from a boom? We've got that whole deal going now, and I think it improves the product. I'll be curious to hear your opinion about the quality, as well as the content of this latest effort.

We tackled two subjects in the podcast: the Henin vs. Clijsters final in Brisbane, and the Davis Cup story I broke, about Andy Roddick and James Blake taking a pass on the U.S. ties for 2010. Let me elaborate on a few of the comments I made on both subjects of the podcast (I've already made some comments on the Clijsters-Henin issue in a post on ESPN's site).

You know, I'd rather have seen either of those women win this match, 7-5, 6-4, just to avoid the inevitable question that now must dominate the discussion: Are we just going to return to the same-old, same-old, (with mental basket-case Kimmy battling self-dramatizing Justine, she of the beautiful game?) in matches that may be unpredictable (but not in a good way) and exciting (in the same way that a six-car crash is  "exciting")?

Sure, it was good drama, in only a Battle of Antietam way (there was so much smoke, fire, panic and agony that after a while you couldn't even tell who was who). Frankly, it made me long for a far less spectacular kind of match - one in which the players split 6-4 sets, and one of them manages to come back from 2-4 down in the third to win with a service hold.

Of course, when we mention the "H" world, we're veering sharply from the WTA game, but nevertheless. .  . I'm still holding out hope (another "H" word) that someone not named Williams is going to be able to go out there and serve like she gets paid for it. I am, after all, an optimist - as well as an accused contrarian.

One of the funny things about these chaotic shootouts that are so indiscriminately billed as great matches is that they show how conditioned we are to entertainment value. A tennis match featuring a gazillion service breaks and double-faults galore addresses our appetite for sensation, which the purveyors of media have been feeding and increasing in what amounts to an escalating cycle for a long time now. I sometimes wonder, does anyone still want to see a good, old-fashioned, tight, well-played tennis match featuring excellent shotmaking, a lack of conspicuous emotional stress, and maybe two or three critical service breaks?

Why don't we just hit the fast-forward button on this issue and leap right to a future in which a tennis has a best-of-seven tiebreakers format, one instead of two serves, and a playing surface slow enough to ensure that we'll have wild rallies that don't just level the playing field, but turn it into a giant-sized craps table?

I just keep thinking, a player who leads a best-of-three match by a set and two breaks should only lose if she breaks a leg, or the other player truly gets into the zone and unloads a stream of unanswerable winners. I'll leave it to you to decide whether or not Justine did that in Brisbane.

95711441 On the Davis Cup issue, I must say I'm puzzled by Roger Federer's pattern of showing up to play relegation ties, and then abandoning the team - ensuring that Switzerland will have no chance whatsoever in the World Group, and will face another relegation ("playoff," in Davis Cup parlance) tie come September. Why the hail does he bother? Just so Stan Wawrinka and company can go and get their fannies tanned in the first or second round yet again?

But maybe it makes sense, in a warped kind of way. Roger can say that he commits to Davis Cup every year - just don't read the fine print. I'm too lazy to check, but the Greatest Player of All Time may have found his way into the record books through the back door, while rivals like Andy Roddick and Rafael Nadal enter through the front. Roger may wind up as the best playoff-round performer in Davis Cup history. 

A less bizarre but more interesting - and sad - issue is the seeming decline of Davis Cup in nations that, unlike the USA in the Roddick-Blake years, have enthusiastically embraced the competition. Nadal is lucky; Spain is strong enough as a nation to fire up its fans win without him. Great Britain is unlucky, in that the kingdom is too weak to win, even with Andy Murray. And the Swiss tread water, ever hopeful that Federer will turn his attention to the Davis Cup. Didn't it used to be the USA that looked like the Davis Cup deadbeat, consistently failing to produce dedicated Davis Cup workhorses to follow the trail blazed by the likes of Arthur Ashe and John McEnroe?

All of us know the problems inherent in the Davis Cup format; regrettably, those "flaws" are also the sources of its considerable charms and legitimacy as a truly competitive event (the chief among them, of course, is the host-visitor format that gives the top players insufficient advance warning of where they're expected to play next, and on what surface). 

Most of the "solutions" put forth would destroy Davis Cup as we know it. I'm especially nonplussed by the idea that, somehow, playing it every two years would solve the competition's problems. Let me get this right: You want to take the world's biggest and best annual international team competition and turn it into. . . Ryder Cup?

Is Roger Federer going to be more inclined to sacrifice (or believe he's sacrificing) chances to win majors every other year, just because it's marginally more appealing than taking the hit every year? Major titles don't come so easily for anyone, including Roger, for him to be able to halve his career opportunities. If the guy thinks he can't win majors and play Davis Cup, it's an open and shut case. More - or less - power to him.

U.S. Davis Cup captain Pat McEnroe has thought plenty about this issue. The potential solution he favors is playing the first two rounds under the present format, then bringing the four semifinalists together at a neutral or rotating site to battle it out for the championship. That would cut back the time commitment (although not by that much), and create something like a fifth Grand Slam in the late fall. It would undoubtedly have loads of star power, and an all-star cast- something not every final can claim. But I'm not sure that approach would be more appealing to the Federers and Murrays of this world.

In any event, I'm really disappointed that Federer won't be available when Spain opens its title defense at home against Switzerland. Slotted for the first week in March, the first-round of Cup play won't have any repercussions whatsoever for a player hoping to do well in the majors this year. It may have a negative impact on those hoping to do well at Indian Wells and Miami, but that seems a small price to pay.

A Federer vs. Nadal Davis Cup showdown, in any round, would add a chapter to the already rich history of their rivalry, and a Federer win would go a long way toward recapturing some of the thunder Nadal stole from him. What could be better, for those who worship at the altar of Federer, than to see him lead the Swiss into Plaza de Toros in Lagrono in March, and leave that historic bullring with a win? Does anyone think so little of Roger's game that they think that couldn't happen?

Which brings up my final point. Unlike the UK, Switzerland with its top star in harness would be a major contender for the Davis Cup championship. And doesn't that beat being the best team every to dominate the playoffs?


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Posted by Tigress 01/12/2010 at 02:36 PM

FIRST?

Posted by SilentP 01/12/2010 at 02:38 PM

Congrats Tigress. I thought I might get there!

Posted by robbyfan 01/12/2010 at 02:45 PM

If Davis Cup was not held every year it would hold more cache for players and spectators. I couldn't tell you right now who won the Davis Cup for the past 10 years. Anyone?

Posted by Tigress 01/12/2010 at 02:48 PM

So glad Federer isn't taking the bait by wasting his energy in a preordained D.C. first round farce on Spanish clay this spring. He's likely playing the relgation ties to keep Suisse in the top group until he decides to play DC seriously in '12 and after, once he gets seniority and he's no longer required to play all those Masters and 500's every year.

Posted by Samantha Elin 01/12/2010 at 02:52 PM

Let's face it, very few of the top players are willing to set aside their desire for individual achievement for the Davis Cup or Fed cup. If you had to single out every top player that rarely played for their country, you would have a long list. When Borg was once asked what it felt like to play for Sweden. His reply, "nothing". I was glad he said it in Swedish. Roddick and Kuzzy have been very loyal.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 01/12/2010 at 02:53 PM

2000- Spain
2001 - Australia
2002 - Who cares?
2003- Who cares?
2004 - Spain
2005 - Who cares?
2006 - Who cares?
2007 - Croatia?
2008 - USA
2009 - Spain
2010 - Spain

Posted by Samantha Elin 01/12/2010 at 02:54 PM

Glad to see someone have the gut to criticize Fed for not playing. The Williamses, Kuzzy and others have taken the heat, so whyn't Roger.

Posted by Elena_YYZ 01/12/2010 at 02:56 PM

the reaason for Roger's not playing this tie is exactly the same as Roddick's: reluctance to change surfaces drastically from hard to clay in the middle of the hard-court season and being cautious to avoid injuries

I believe if the tie were in Switzerland, it would be held on hard and he would participate in this case because it would not interfere with the natural flow of the season

Posted by Master Ace 01/12/2010 at 02:57 PM

Wednesday Order of Play:

ATP: Auckland at 5 PM - Robredo, Isner/Monaco, Ferrero and Kohlschreiber scheduled
ATP: Sydney at 7 PM - Gasquet, Wawrinka/Benneteau, Baghdatis, Hewitt, Fish and Berdych scheduled
WTA: Sydney at 7 PM - Pennetta/Rezai and Azarenka/Cibulkova scheduled on Court 1
WTA: Hobart at 7 PM - Wozniak/Flipkens, Errani/K Bondarenko and Suarez Navarro/Molik scheduled
WTA: Sydney at 11:30 PM - S Williams vs Dushevina
ATP: Auckland at 1:30 AM - Clement vs Ferrer
WTA: Hobart at 3 AM - Dokic vs Peer
WTA: Sydney at 3:30 AM - Dementieva vs Safina

Kooyong exo matches start at 7 PM
Ivan Ljubicic vs Juan Martin Del Potro
Novak Djokovic vs Tommy Haas
Fernando Gonzalez vs Fernando Verdasco
Robin Soderling vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Posted by robbyfan 01/12/2010 at 03:00 PM

MSF-LOL!!!!

Posted by skip1515 01/12/2010 at 03:00 PM

Pete, regarding the Clijsters/Henin match: you'll get no argument from me about their respective efforts to close out that match, or their tight matches in general. Clijsters has had that reputation her whole career and Henin developed it at the end of her Phase One.

Outside of that, however, the match consisted of points that displayed a variety of shotmaking and consistency; the consistency may have wobbled through execution, but it was not lost to foolish shot selection. The latter is what undermines the overall quality of WTA play, IMO. It was a pleasure to watch them *not* choose silly shots as soon as they were pushed out of their comfort zone in a rally. It's fair to call this match for what it was for some of the time, a battle of wobbles, but it's a little harsh to disregard what was good about it.

I'll gladly take this match over what we see too often: young players who believe matches are won by overwhelming your opponent on every point, and who think the correct response to being pushed out of their comfort zone is to pull the trigger on an all-or-nothing placement. Sorry to be such a curmudgeon, but I don't believe today's dominant style of play on the WTA tour draws any but the most dedicated fans; it's too hit-or-miss. And by dedicated fan I exclude myself, though I've been watching tennis for over 40 years.

Two and three shot tennis that ends in a bad miss 70% of the time isn't fun to watch. While not the best example of resolute competitors, at least this match reminded me of why tennis used to be called three dimensional chess.

Posted by Master Ace 01/12/2010 at 03:01 PM

This is a reminder that Talk About Tennis is having its traditional suicide pool for the Australian Open. First pick to be made once the OOP is available.

TAT link to suicide pool

http://www.talkabouttennis.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=172

If you want to play and not have registered with TAT, don't worry registeration is not difficult.

Very Important:
Once registered on TAT to play the suicide pool, PLEASE follow the instructions given by TAT Suicide Pool Staff as it is very useful. Ptenisnet or a member of TAT will probably come by later this week explaining the rules.

Posted by VC 01/12/2010 at 03:02 PM

Well, this one's going to draw a few comments.

"In any event, I'm really disappointed that Federer won't be available when Spain opens its title defense at home against Switzerland. Slotted for the first week in March, the first-round of Cup play won't have any repercussions whatsoever for a player hoping to do well in the majors this year. It may have a negative impact on those hoping to do well at Indian Wells and Miami, but that seems a small price to pay.

A Federer vs. Nadal Davis Cup showdown, in any round, would add a chapter to the already rich history of their rivalry, and a Federer win would go a long way toward recapturing some of the thunder Nadal stole from him. What could be better, for those who worship at the altar of Federer, than to see him lead the Swiss into Plaza de Toros in Lagrono in March, and leave that historic bullring with a win? Does anyone think so little of Roger's game that they think that couldn't happen?"

I agree with this and have been banging on about it since the draw was made. I don't see how Roger had too much to lose playing this tie with very few expectations on his shoulders and everything to gain. Even if it is an impossible task for the Swiss with Stan out, it's the full commitment to the tournament which I was looking for at this stage in his career. How many more opportunities is he going to get to make a full commitment to the Davis Cup? Still, it's his decision so I respect it.

"You know, I'd rather have seen either of those women win this match, 7-5, 6-4, just to avoid the inevitable question that now must dominate the discussion: Are we just going to return to the same-old, same-old, (with mental basket-case Kimmy battling self-dramatizing Justine, she of the beautiful game?) in matches that may be unpredictable (but not in a good way) and exciting (in the same way that a six-car crash is "exciting")?"

I don't see the point of this comment. How is it anything other than a positive that it was a hard-fought encounter so early in the season, both ladies giving everything? A few double-faults and early rust is inevitable really. I don't think this match is enough evidence to raise questions about Kim's mental fortitude, given she eventually won it, and also the recent evidence of her US Open victory.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 01/12/2010 at 03:02 PM

Good Grief My Tomas playing The Fish?

What a woman has to endure.pfft.

Posted by Puissance 01/12/2010 at 03:03 PM

Has Pete got PMT or something?

Posted by Tigress 01/12/2010 at 03:05 PM

Davis Cup is simply not a sufficiently big or significant enough event to be held annually. Stretched out as it is throughout the year, it seems like an endless loop and too tediously continuous to hold much of the public's interest. Plus, it's too much and too wearing given the players' already heavy schedules.

It should only be held every 2 years in odd-nimbered years, so as not to conflict with the Olympics. A 'pause that refreshes' might give it an aura and fascination it presently lacks.

Posted by Puissance 01/12/2010 at 03:07 PM

PS I fail to see why anyone should ever be obligated to commit to Davis Cup; its so skewed in favour of certain nations, what's the point? The whole home-nation-chooses-the-surface thing just makes it even more bent.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 01/12/2010 at 03:07 PM

Oh no a replay of last years final at Medibank

My Safina v Elena

Well at least I can take drugs and drink alchol

Seeing I am not offcially working today that is some compensation

Posted by Novela Nadalesca/Celia(Princess of playing hookie) 01/12/2010 at 03:09 PM

Interesting post Pete. I have to say that when I found out Justine was coming back I was seriously thinking about watching the women's game again, but now I'm not so sure. It just seems like the WTA is like a scripted reality show where you know these are real people, but what happens is already pre-written. It's predictable to the point of boring and the worst part is is that no one seems to know how to fix it. I love the men's game more because of the drive they have and the fact that, no offense to the women on the WTA tour, but they're just plain better(and that hurts to say that as a fellow female tennis player). Billie Jean King was able to beat a man, but put any of the women of today in that situation, and I doubt any of them could do it. Serena might just to prove herself, plus, as much as it pains me to say this seeing as she is my least favorite player, she is the best in the women's game, and could be just as big of a powerhouse as Rafa or Roger, but she doesn't have the commitment. Last year when she said that she was the game's true number 1 I thought the same thing, except that she didn't deserve it because she doesn't put in the time. I don't know what will happen to the women's game, but I hope something positive happens soon because I would hate to see all of the hard work that Billie Jean King and all of the other women of the golden era put in go to waste.

Posted by Pspace (Lookin' for Court No. 3) 01/12/2010 at 03:10 PM

So, Nadal makes the hard-clay-hard transition last year, blows out his knees, and loses 5 months. Pretty good reason for not playing, if you ask me. In a twisted way, Fed's decision not to play might let Rafa sit this tie out, and save the rest of his season ;-).

But, yeah, disappointing that we won't get to see Fedal go at it in DC.

Posted by Corrie 01/12/2010 at 03:11 PM

I remember Federer saying that people don't realise how draining it is to be flying to diferent time zones and that then playing on different surfaces also increases the risk of injury. That's the problem with having to fly to Spain and then straight into the US hardcourt season. At his age he has to pace himself very carefully. I also think Nadal should start thinking about these issues. Pacing yourself is the secret to playing well as you get older.

After record heat and a sweltering night it's nice and cool in Melbourne and the forecast is for mild weather for a week and maybe even showers next week for the start of the AO.

Posted by kchowcrazy - Go ReRe World #1!! 01/12/2010 at 03:11 PM

I didn't see the Brisbane final but was really confused when ppl who saw it said it wasn't that great but yet others were saying it beats every womens match from last year. Now i can see why, the drama. I will admit seeing whether someone will serve it out and watching them choke while doing is very enetertaining, but i agree with Pete i would rather see a tight womens match where they both serve great and it comes down to some key moments, not she lost 3 mp then she lost 4 then she won it on a double or something. Thats why i can replay serena vs dementieva or venus vs davenport again and again. Great serving, fabulous points, no chokes (both saved mp with winners) and the person who won took the win and wasn't given it.

Posted by Master Ace 01/12/2010 at 03:11 PM

Aussiemarg,
Tomas is not playing Mardy today but if they both win, they will face off in QF.

Posted by Tigress 01/12/2010 at 03:11 PM

R.F. WEEKLY COUNTDOWN CLOCK: 22


Monday, January 11, 2010
Roger Federer Countdown to 287: 22 (Twenty-two) weeks
Weeks #1: 265
Ranking Points: 10,550
Points gain/loss from last week: 0
Point Lead: 1240 (Nadal), 2240 (Djokovic)
Points Lead gain/loss: -105 (Nadal), 0 (Djokovic)
#1 Weeks Rank: 4th
Target Date for Record #287: June 14, 2010
Pete Sampras Record for #1: 286 weeks
Target Date for 3rd Rank #269 (Connors 268): February 8, 2010 -- 4 weeks
Target Date for 2nd Rank #271 (Lendl 270): February 22, 2010 – 6 weeks
1st time #1: February 2, 2004. 237 weeks
2nd time #1: July 6, 2009. 28 weeks (ongoing)


Short Term Outlook: Only Nadal and Djokovic are realistic threats to challenge Federer for #1 in the next two months.

Fed v. Nadal: By losing in Finals as opposed to losing in QF last year, Nadal gains 105 points on Fed, who stayed the same with an identical SF loss in Doha as in 2009. Rafa defends 2000 points at Melbourne, while Fed defends 1200. Nadal cannot pass Federer for #1 at AO, since he cannot add points, while Fed leads by 1240 and can lose only a maximum of 1200 (l180). Nadal must win the AO to have any chance of gaining significantly on Federer. If he wins AO, Fed will add at least 1600 points to his lead. Nadal will have little chance to gain major points after Melbourne until RG, because he won so many points during that period last year. He has to get close here to have a short term chance at #1.

Fed v. Djokovic: Nole trails Fed by 2240 points. He is not playing this week and will lose his 90 points from Sydney (QF) last year, and thus will trail Fed by 2330 when Melbourne starts. He is defending only 360 points (“09 QF loss). Theoretically, he could take over #1. To do so, he must win the AO (gaining 1640 points). He would then need Fed (who is defending 1200 points) to lose at least 695 points, winning 505 or fewer. Thus, Fed would have to lose in the QF or before. If Federer loses before the SF and Djokovic wins the tournament, Nole will be the new #1. If Nole does not close the gap with Fed significantly at AO, he’ll have little chance for #1 until the French Open, because he is defending many points until then, and Fed is defending relatively few until Madrid.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 01/12/2010 at 03:12 PM

Well to me I would rather have DC than tennis played at the Olympics

I have never been a fan of tennis at the Olympics full stop.

I am a big fan of DC.I have watched over the years incredible ties between nations

I do believe players love representing their country

One just has to hear the commments of Roddick,Blake,Rafa

Also here in Australia,Hewitt who has played on one leg to represent his country.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 01/12/2010 at 03:13 PM

Master Ace Thanks,you have just made my day.

Posted by mina (meanie and proud of it) 01/12/2010 at 03:19 PM

hi guys! one of my dreams is to watch a live DC tie! the atmosphere must be so intense and amazing. wonder when i'll be able to do that? hmmmmm

i'd like to post my Day 4 report here, but i dunno if it's okay... i'll check upthread first.

Posted by zenggi 01/12/2010 at 03:20 PM

Same old, same old.

Pete Sampras only played twice first round DC and both times -surprise- in the USA.
http://www.daviscup.com/teams/player.asp?player=10001217

John McEnroe played also only twice first round DC. One in the USA and another in Argentina which USA lost.
http://www.daviscup.com/teams/player.asp?player=10000894

Andres Agassi only played once a first round DC outside the USA. In Zimbabwe!
http://www.daviscup.com/teams/player.asp?player=10000009

I'm always dissapointed when Federer doesn't play but it has nothing to do with Davis Cup at all.
http://www.daviscup.com/teams/player.asp?player=10019424

Posted by sod'sfriend 01/12/2010 at 03:21 PM

Tigress,

pray that your man does not run into us around the 4th round/quarterfinals.

cos he's going down, and his #1 ranking may not reach the 287 weeks you are clamoring for.

Posted by Jesse 01/12/2010 at 03:24 PM

You know, as much as I love Davis Cup, I think Federer is a realist. It doesn't entertain him to have to carry the entire nation's team on his shoulders, and he isn't exactly a star doubles player. It's just not part of the mind set of someone who wants to be the best singles player ever.

Posted by mina (meanie and proud of it) 01/12/2010 at 03:24 PM

okay i'm gonna be a rebel here and just post it, cos i didnt see a notice upthread hehe

Day 4 at Medibank:

first day since Medibank started that i'm not on duty... also, i wasn't even supposed to go watch tennis! suffice it to say that Nic is to blame for the fantastic time i had :D

we started our off watching Evgeny play Querry on Court 1. Sam was not dealing with the heat all that well, plus the bh wasn't working. and so is the serve, so... you get the drift. i was a little bit impressed with the way the newly Kazhakstani Baby Marat was hitting, deep and heavy groundstrokes. not as consistent as he prolly would've liked but when it worked, it was pretty effective. Plus he's pretty, so we braved the lunch time heat. it's all about the pretty.

left court 1 so we could seek some respite fr the stiffling heat there. didn't help that the positioning of the bleachers/stands was completely blocking any and all breeze that might come. outside, we could hear people cheering at the end of a match. Dinara's to be exact, whihc was first up on Rosewall. i was so anxious to see the result. checked the score board and upon seeing that she won in straights, i was relieved. and happy. cos that means i'll get to see her play tomorrow , hopefully the night match. it wasnt until later that i found out how the first set was grouesome. that she was down 0-5 before taking it. Jeebus. i swear this girl and Rafa are gonna kill me someday.

up next are Sveta vs. Domi. Yikes should sum up that match. remember when i said on the first report that i was underwhelmed by Sveta's groundstrokes? this time it was the inaccuracy. poor Sveta made a mess with all the errors.Dinara was watching over at the verandah as Sveta was made to sweat by Domi, who by the way has such solid groundstrokes for the pocketsized package that she is. Pomme! indeed. her matching screaming orange dress and socks nearly beat Nads for eyesore of the tournament. and don't forget, Rezai's makes for an awesome runner up to that.

we skipped the next match to have a lunch and some shade near the outer courts. it was sooo hot out there sweat will drip off you and into the ground. as if you're Kleybs' ponytail begging to be wrung.

cruised around the practice courts before deciding to watch Vika/Kimiko. who else do i spot but Pretty personified. again. nothing like seeing Feli to make stop mindless chatter. oh and Woz too.her dad is constantly drilling things into her head, it was a nonstop talkfest. she's not just hitting and practicing strokes, she's getting quite the earful. incessant, really.

Vika, after cruising in the first seet was given such a huge fight back by Kimiko. the crowd on this match was soooo different fr all the other ones. everyone was so quiet! no a single C'mon Vika or C'mon Kimiko. well, not until after we arrived. which was when the C'mon Vika! started. she frustrated the heck out of both Nic and i, so we went off to the shady part outside Rosewall again when Kimiko broke her to take the second.

the decision was made to go to court 8 where there was too much pretty headcaseyness going around for us not to watch that match. Igor/Korolev vs Gasquet/Benneteau were on and it was a pretty entertaining match. loved several of their rallies. what are the chances of being a target for wayward balls 2 days in row? Gasquet shanked a FH and it went straight towards me, i screeched and narrowly avoided the yellow fuzzy assasin. yep, that's the reward for sitting on the grass, in the heat. debate about whether Richard was actually the 6 ft he was listed on the ATP bio ensued when AM came around. i was sure Richard is a little shy of 6 ft. i'll give him 5'11, with shoes on. max. oh and one more thing, fangirls (and i mean highschoolers) are viciously competitive when it comes to Gasquet. dang. look, he's cute... i saw him so close up, but i would hassle him for a pic. LOL strange, but i'd rather do that to Nenad (and i did :P), than Richard.

btw, Igor and Korolev have the same problems, reining in their shots. dudes, pace only counts if it's accurate! LOL

thankfully none of that decapitaion attempt happened at the last match we went to, Nenad/Nestor vs Fyrstenberg/Matkowski. again, the highlight of the day involved Nenad. i was about to take a seat, and since it was an outside court we were pretty close to the court even if we were at the last row.

before i got there, i noticed Nenad looking over his shoulder, at me. cos i was an idiot, standing there looking over at Nic and the sun beating down out backs in the only seats we could find. I was only about 5 feet away from where he was sitting, and he gave me a strange lingering look that made me burst out laughing. i knew precisely why... i was wearing the same blue baseball cap and sunnies i was wearing the day i took that pic with him. note to self: wear diff accessories so Nenad won't figure out you're stalking him. hehe.

in the middle of a game, Nenad hit a FH winner and happened to look our way. then this convo took place:

Nic: did you just give Nenad the thumbs up?
Me: um, yyyyeah. ROFL

i swear this obsession came out of nowhere. i blame Nic. like always. and most especially for that Feli pic involving bottled water. you guys are just gonna have to ask her to post it. epicness frozen in time. will never look at bottled water the same way again.

doubles should really get more coverage. the match against the Polish duo was pretty good. the volleys were lightning quick and so forceful, i'm conviced these players are bionic somehow. play just went by so fast. not a dull moment. i think Nenad/Nestor were the more aggressive pair, nearly all rallies ended up with them putting their opponents on the defensive and not letting them transition fr defense to offense.

the Polish lady sitting next to me was laughing at the convos nick and i were having, convos that will never see the interwebs. what i can i promise you guys is that it does involve tennis. which is exactly why the lady was laughing, she was a guest of Lukas Kubot and knew these players Nic and i were gossiping wildly about.

so much tennis seen i can't even type the relevant stuff, just the fun fangirling ones! i just found out that Dina will indeed be playing the night match tomorrow against Elena Dementieva. hope she gets past Lena cos i will be tearing my hair out if the suckfest that was the first set with Aggie happens tomorrow night.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 01/12/2010 at 03:26 PM

Fox Sports News,

Bernard Tomic's preparation got off to a flying start after he beat Robby Ginepri at the World Tennis Challenge in Adelaide, 7-6 {7-4),6-4.

In the other match Radek Stepanek beat Gilles Simon 7-6,6-0.

Posted by Ruth 01/12/2010 at 03:35 PM

There may be, as VC said, a lot of comments about this post, so I'll make mine as short as possible:

Thank you, Mr. Bodo, for your very enlightening comments about both the Henin-Clijsters match and the why-play-DC topic.

Re: the first topic, thanks to you, my head is no longer spinning as a result of the sizeable gap between the comments I read about what actually happened from folk who commented while they were actually following the whole match and the gushing that I've since read from some folk who seem to have seen only the highlights and some who say they saw the whole thing.

Tanks, again!

Posted by robbyfan 01/12/2010 at 03:36 PM

awwww robby. Hang in there!

It's all about the pretty. Love that-thanks Mina!

Posted by zenggi 01/12/2010 at 03:37 PM

Mina,

Wonderful report, again. LOL!!!

Most curious about this: "...will never look at bottled water the same way again".

Please explain. Thanks.

Posted by Tfactor 01/12/2010 at 03:38 PM

While I found the Justine/Kim match entertaining and dramatic, there were moments which were painful to watch as were some of the same things people complain about the younger WTA players: double faults/nerves/inability to hold. That said, I fully expect to see Justine and Kim stepping it up at the bigger stages and providing stiff competition to all other players. Interesting times ahead for the WTA, I believe.
On the DC front, although I enjoy DC competition I can’t say I expect every player to commit it. I’d imagine there can be many reasons why it’s not possible/convenient or even productive to be part of every tie. I understand also that DC doesn’t hold the interest of many fans. Not sure if a change in format would be the answer. I think Roddick & Blake’s decision to take a break is not going to do DC any favors either, at least in this part of the world, as I can imagine the already limited coverage will be reduced even further.

Posted by Corrie 01/12/2010 at 03:39 PM

Davis Cup should become more of a one off special event and be like the Ryder Cup in golf. Every two years or longer between. It would make it far less difficult for the players and make it more special.

If I was Federer whose first job as a top player is to hang onto #1, there's no way I'd fly to another continent to shoulder the burden on my own and still be unable to have the team win. And Nadal also should let the other players do it and get over for the hard court season in US.

And I also think Agassi and Sampras made the right choices not to play. Peoples' expectations on the top players are unreasonable - they want them to win all the big tournaments but also play DC. It's not possible in the modern game, especially as you get older. Hewitt has suffered greatly from wear and tear by tying to do too much.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 01/12/2010 at 03:39 PM

Mina: Yet another great report. Thanks, lol.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 01/12/2010 at 03:39 PM

robbyfan In regards to Robby Ginepri this is like a expo tournament.Seeing Bernard who got a w/card into Brisbane last week and got knocked out in the 1st round I think he is trying to make amends for his performance.Also sending a message to his "feuding partner" Lleyton Hewitt that he deserves a try out for Aussie in the DC.

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 01/12/2010 at 03:42 PM

"U.S. Davis Cup captain Pat McEnroe has thought plenty about this issue. The potential solution he favors is playing the first two rounds under the present format, then bringing the four semifinalists together at a neutral or rotating site to battle it out for the championship. That would cut back the time commitment (although not by that much), and create something like a fifth Grand Slam in the late fall."

Finally, someone INSIDE the game's power structure is offering something intelligent to the Davis Cup problem. I have been proposing someting quite similar for several years now, asnd even on this blog, except that I go one step further and suggest that all but the relegation rounds ought to be brought together for one fortnight at a neutral and rotatiunbg siute. In other words, all the quarterfinalists of the World Group coming together in what would amount to a World Cup of tennis. The first rounds could still be competed early inthe year at alternating host-nation sites.

And it would be a marketer's and fans' dream.

Posted by zenggi 01/12/2010 at 03:46 PM

Ruth,

I cannot find a direct link for you. So to solve the problem. Go first to this link
http://tinyurl.com/ylkq83n
Click above in "Todays results". Then on the left arrow to go to 2010-01-09 and then click again on Clijsters-Henin. Voilà, the stats

Good luck!

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 01/12/2010 at 03:46 PM

Also, I agree with VC's 3:02 PM post.

I think that Pete is still smarting from the early and quite unexpected retirment announcements of Justine and Kim, even though Kim had given plenty of forewarning.

These gals, even at their choking worst, are nothing like watching a tearful Safina or Ivanovic beat themselves into submission.

We should be happy to see them back in the game. Now, if we could get Mauresmo to reconsider.......

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 01/12/2010 at 03:47 PM

Fed is not in the "first flush of youth" anymore, so I don't blame him in the least, for putting his personal career before DC.

Posted by Tfactor 01/12/2010 at 03:47 PM

Mina,
Thanks for the report. You're outdoing yourself with each new one you post :)
It's obvious you and Nic are enjoying your adventures there and I hope -if nothing else- the heat and the sweating serve a purifing purpose at least ;-)

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 01/12/2010 at 03:49 PM

Has anyone checked rafa's schedule to see if he's planning on playing the first round in march? 'Cus after reading Pspace's post, I don't want him to play!!! no blown out knees please. The Davis Cup is fantastic, but it was started way before the era of wide-body jet travel all over the world etc etc. It really is a hardship for these guys to work the ties into their schedules. Someone suggested that if a player plays a DC tie, he should be given a bye for a mandatory tournament in exchange. I thought that made sense.

All I saw of the Justine/Kim final were the highlights. And i was wowed. But, duh, those were the highlights. I'm gathering from reading some of these posts that the rest of the match was blah. well, there goes my plan to watch wta this season.

Posted by Corrie 01/12/2010 at 03:53 PM

It's ironic for Pete to make these remarks about the women's final, which was amazingly well played considering how little these two have played, while in the men's final Roddick was doing much more of an obvious "WTA" by making a hash of winning and losing a 5-1 lead by apparently imploding on serve.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 01/12/2010 at 03:55 PM

Well I am going to stick Up for the woman in the WTA

I have seen some great matches played between the woman

Let me tell you I have been bored to bloody tears watching some of the men go round in their matches,also that has been at Live tournaments???

Posted by robbyfan 01/12/2010 at 03:55 PM

Corrie-I thought Roddick's play was more like WTF??? He was up 5-1 in the 2nd set and Steps fought back admirably. Andy R. knew he had choked as evidenced by the "shake out" on court. Too many yips! and I have major bucks on him to win the AO. What was I thinking?

Posted by robbyfan 01/12/2010 at 03:58 PM

OT for a moment, It was just announced Atlanta is a finalist for the World Cup!!! in 2018 or 2022

Posted by Corrie 01/12/2010 at 04:00 PM

Robbyfan, I'd say that if you'd do best to see that money as a generous donation to the bookies.

Posted by robbyfan 01/12/2010 at 04:01 PM

I don't know-they both were rattled by the horrible line calls.

Posted by Elena_YYZ 01/12/2010 at 04:02 PM

hear, hear, Corrie!
double standard kicks in again

I watched the whole women's final (got up at 4 am after having gone to bed after watching men's matches at midnight) and I was wowed - what Slice-and-Dice said at 3:46 pm.
It's only the beginning of their (especially Justine's) comeback.

I suggest that people (Ruth, Annie and others) not rely on Pete's opinion but watch and judge for themselves - you'll be pleasantly surprized.

Posted by lollipop 01/12/2010 at 04:09 PM

Kooyong starts today! :)

Nothing excites me more than the pre-tourney photos:

http://www.novakdjokovic.rs/photo.php?jezik=2&id=105

bring. it. on.

Posted by Peg 01/12/2010 at 04:13 PM

Pspace, I like the way you think.

Mina, your report was a hoot! (do you think the Polish lady and Kubot had fun talking about y'all later? *g*)

Posted by CL 01/12/2010 at 04:13 PM

I doth protest! On the TW home page the link is to something called, "Why does Roger Federer keep dodging Davis Cup." A title that might, shall we say, 'rankle' more than a few. And here I come and find the benignly titled "Contrary Optimism." A classic case of bait and switch, if you ask me.

And BTW Roger, is that a tennis ball in your pocket or are you just glad to see Melbourne?

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 01/12/2010 at 04:14 PM

mina: another fab report. sounds like you and Nic are tearing up the joint. i think you should wear the same shades and cap every day so the players get to know you! Nenad does!

Posted by Diane 01/12/2010 at 04:16 PM

Having breakfast at the hotel and will soon get the train to olympic park for the Medibank.

Aussiemarg and mina, if there is some way of meeting up...I'm not sure.

Enjoying Sydney, it's a wonderful city!

Posted by Nigel 01/12/2010 at 04:26 PM

The trouble with the Davis Cup is that the format of the matches doesn't let it build to a climax. It's ludicrous that spectators who've paid good money for the Sunday can sit through two meaningless dead rubbers.

Posted by Ruth 01/12/2010 at 04:34 PM

mina: I was just reviewing the comments and saw your 3:19, and I hope that you soon get your wish tosee a DC tie.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: one of the most memorable and enjoyable tennis experiences for me was attending all 3 days of the DC final held in St.Petersburg FL when the USA played and beat Australia on indoor clay -- Agassi, Chang et al. It was funny to read years later my fave Roddick's memories of attending that, his first, DC tie as a youngboy.

Posted by sblily (Wheeeeeeeee!!!) 01/12/2010 at 04:35 PM

mina - Hilarious! And I'm eagerly awaiting details about the Feli/water bottle thing.

Re: Fed and DC. Meh. I'm not even a fan of his, and I can't get worked up about his not playing. NOT because I don't think DC is important, but because I think comparing his situation and/or DC commitment to Roddick's or Rafa's is comparing apples and oranges.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 01/12/2010 at 04:37 PM

Dianne I will be going to Medibank for the full day to report for TW,as its my only day off.Since I am not working.Mina and Nic have been going as well.Thnaks to them cause last year apart from Nic,I was the only one going.

Posted by Alexis 01/12/2010 at 04:38 PM

Oh here we go again, Bodo's annual assault on Roger for opting out of the first round of Davis Cup and not fulfilling his "sacred duty". As I say every damn time, there are not many very-top-players who play every single tie in a DC year - not Nadal, not even your precious Sampras.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 01/12/2010 at 04:38 PM

test

Posted by Or 01/12/2010 at 04:38 PM

Well, for starters, you'd have to take into account that Stan may not show up as well, his wife is due right at the time of the tournament. I imagine Roger is thinking about a scenerio where he beats Nando, lose the doubles, beat Rafa in an amazing thriller, and no third guy to handle whoever is up there from the Spanish Armeda.

Plus, he's also thinking about the rest of the draw, France, Argentina - it just doesn't get any easier.

Posted by Nic 01/12/2010 at 04:40 PM

Hi Diane, I think Mina would have left for the tennis already, and I'm not sure about AMs shift today, but I think she's keen to catch up. Glad you're enjoying Sydney. I think you may have AM's number? Otherwise, I'm very easy to spot, I'm normally wearing a giant navy hat with cream trim (I haven't seen anyone wear anything quite so enormous over the past few days). I don't know if I'm successfully 'in blue' but if I am, feel free to contact me.

Posted by phillykat 01/12/2010 at 04:41 PM

Re: Henin-Clijsters and the WTA in general

I didn't see the Brisbane final and couldn't really get a good sense of the play because so many of those commenting had opposing views - was it really a gripping epic, or just another see-saw match that neither was commited to snatching the win? I haven't fully bought into the Clijsters as savior either, winning the USO just gave her a 2nd Slam, so what's the hoopla really about... but I prefer watching the WTA over the ATP anyday, allday. The ATP is filled with tedious, boring, see-saw 46 64 46 affairs so why so many just oooh and ahhh over matches is beyond me.

And I was just thinking yesterday, after reading Bobby's WTA blog (great read by the way) and seeing the promos for the tennis channel AO classic matches why isn't Serena v Sharapova 07 final there? I'll watch a dominating, quick, sweet in the zone, first-strike, putting on a clinic performance anyday, allday.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 01/12/2010 at 04:43 PM

Nic I am not working today,I left a post for Dianne.I will do a full day reporting for TW.So maybe we can Bump into each other like we normally do.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 01/12/2010 at 04:47 PM

Nic Also I cant turn myself Blue?


Dianne if you are still around I will leave my e mail for you

margaretmcaller@ymail.com

E mail me ASAP I can then leave you my mobile no or you can leave yours,then we can arrange some time to meet.I have free passes into Ken Rosewall arena today

Posted by Nic 01/12/2010 at 04:48 PM

Well, that was a bit redundant, as AM is still here.

For those curious about the Feli water bottle scene, I've posted it here
http://tinyurl.com/y89atmn which is also where I've been emailing updates from onsite, simply because by the time I get home, I'm usually too tired to do anything more than zonk out.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 01/12/2010 at 04:49 PM

Dianne Ok I cant spell my last name,the heat has gottne to my brain

margaretmcaleer@ymail.com

Posted by Ruth 01/12/2010 at 04:55 PM

zenggi: The information that you give in yourn 3:20 comment is absolutely correct. But it loses significance because none of those players was in the position vis a vis his country's need for him to play as Roger is. When a country has lots of decent players, it can afford to let good players sit when choosing its two singles players. Example: Pete Sampras, my #1 fave, was nowhere in sight at the DC final I mentioned attending. He wasn't needed. Also, when countries have lots of good players, they often excuse their "star" players from the first round (or don't mind if they skip it) when they feel sure that can win Rd 1 without them.

It's risky, but that's what's done! You can be sure Roddick would not have had to play virtually every tie for the USA during the last decade if the USA were bursting with talent just ready to take on the world -- successfully.

At present, the Swiss would need Roger in all rounds, and he has decided that he can't do that. Fine. Then, as I said a few days ago, why keep them in the World Group? DC is more than the WG (there are tennis federations all over the world who gain 50% or more of their annual budget funds from DC play), and it can't be fun for the Swiss players to be led to the water but denied any serious opportunity to drink, right?

Posted by CL 01/12/2010 at 04:57 PM

Hmmm - as to what Pspace and other have been commenting about re the change of surfaces - One of the really interesting little sidebars in the totally fascinating and engrossing "Open" is when Andre comments, briefly, on how hard it is to go from HC to clay. According to him it is almost as if your dominant muscles suddenly become the supporting muscles and vice versa. One of the toughest transitions in sports.

Posted by sokol 01/12/2010 at 04:57 PM

I won't be watching today as they'll show men first...
so I just want to wish good luck to Lleyton, Marcos, Zhenya and Tomas on ATP side
and to Vika, VeraD on WTA side.
The match I'm torn about is, of course, Lena-Dina. I don't know who I want to come out as a winner in this one. Let the best Russian lady win, I guess...

see you all tomorrow....

Posted by Jamaica Karen 01/12/2010 at 05:00 PM

OK, all of last year all we saw was pathetic tennis from the women, according to some here and I will agree with that. Some of the matches were a total snoozefest. The thing is you had them on the men's side as well. Who can forget the beatdown in Rome. Anyway, all of a sudden Justine and Kim come back and everyone is talking about how excellent that match was. I read through the match calls at this very site and remember how infuriated people were with the inability of both players to take control of the match. I am with Ruth, clearly everybody finally saw the highlights and thought it was a fantastic match. Double faults all around, break points at almost every given opportunity, games going to deuce, the looking to the player boxes. At one point Clijsters got so frustrated she almost flung her racquet to the ground. And as to other players who have retired coming back, what do we want to see, pretty tennis or effective tennis? Do we wish to see players who can hold their serve and fight to the very end for a point, or do we want to see beautiful volleys and slices being made by players who cannot serve to save their lives, who have to keep practising strokes after every miss and who keep looking at their boxes and breaking down in tears and fist pumping and waiting for the opponent to give them the match on an error rather than winning the match.

Someone said upthread that Serena was not committed to the Tour. Serena plays at least 16 tournaments per year. For someone who has chronic knee problems as well as a life outside of tennis, I think that is quite a good number of tournaments. One of the reasons why Clijsters retired at the age she retired was because if there was a net strung across a parking lot, she was there with racquet in hand.

The women have finally learned balance in their lives and more power to them and hopefully it will reinvigorate commentary on women's tennis, preferably of the positive type. I have not seen so many articles on women's tennis at this particular site in a long time and I have to give thanks for that.

On the Roger Federer/Davis Cup issue: Ladies and Gentlemen I give you Exhibit A, Andy Roddick. A man who has dedicated his entire career to Davis Cup and who has now reached the twilight of his career is now trying to achieve his own dreams of winning another major. Is it fair that at Andy's age when you have better, stronger and faster players than him who are also contending for the same prize, the only thing that Roddick can look back on is the fact that he won the USO and Davis Cup. He will no doubt get into the Hall of Fame, but for my money I think Andy would have taken a Wimbledon trophy or two, rather than Davis Cup.

Posted by Alexis 01/12/2010 at 05:04 PM

zenggi, thanks for your post at 3:20pm - Sampras and Agassi would not have DC titles if others hadn't won earlier ties for them!! Even Nadal did not play every tie this year or last. Federer has said repeatedly that he loves Davis Cup, but he has had to make difficult decisions in order to play at the level he wants to and for the long career that he wants to have - and so he has had to sacrifice Davis Cup.

Obviously Pete would rather see Roger sacrifice ATP events - like he did in September when he opted to play the Swiss tie and therefore could not play the Asian swing. Something tells me that the Asian fans weren't too happy about that decision.

And I can tell you as someone who might be at both IW and Miami this year, I would rather see Roger perform well there than play Davis Cup.

Posted by Ruth 01/12/2010 at 05:11 PM

Thanks for the link, zenggi. Even though I know stats aren't evertyhing, they will help to bring a little sense to some weird contradictions I've been hearing about the famous match.

BTW When I mentioned the other tennis federations and DC, I was referring, of course, to those in dozens and dozens of smaller and/or less tennis-strong countries who never make it to the elite World Group and who depend in large part on DC income for their survival.

I wish people would think more of those countries, their players, and fans and less of the tennis powerhouses, their star players, and their fans when they talk about changing the DC format. Yes, DC can benefit from "star" participation but NOT at the risk of losing its true international flavor.

Posted by phillykat 01/12/2010 at 05:13 PM

@Jamaican Karen ...
"One of the reasons why Clijsters retired at the age she retired was because if there was a net strung across a parking lot, she was there with racquet in hand."

LOL funny :))

(I'm on my laptop in my kitchen, literally LOL at that line, my teenage daughter looking at me like I'm crazy)

Posted by phillykat 01/12/2010 at 05:15 PM

Hi Ruth, how r u and happy new year.

Posted by Alexis 01/12/2010 at 05:15 PM

"At present, the Swiss would need Roger in all rounds, and he has decided that he can't do that. Fine. Then, as I said a few days ago, why keep them in the World Group? DC is more than the WG (there are tennis federations all over the world who gain 50% or more of their annual budget funds from DC play), and it can't be fun for the Swiss players to be led to the water but denied any serious opportunity to drink, right?"

Because keeping Switzerland in the WG means that they have a chance. When the draw came out last year and it was against the US in the US... Roger wanted to play. It was too bad he got injured. This year the draw was awful. I totally agree with Roger not wanting to go to Spain and play on clay in the middle of the Spring hardcourt season. But as long as Roger keeps Switzerland in the WG, you never know what might happen the next year. As Zenggi pointed out, Sampras only played the first round twice - and it was in the US both times.

This topic ticks me off every year. Praise J-Mac or Roddick or whoever for playing DC, but don't rip up the guys who don't. DC is a team sport and the decks are hardly stacked equally. I don't begrudge Fed or Murray at all for not playing. If they play, they play. If they don't, they don't.

As long as Bodo rips into Fed every year about this (or Murray or anyone that doesn't play), I'll continue to rip him back.

Posted by tina 01/12/2010 at 05:19 PM

I agree with those who would prefer to keep DC and drop tennis from the Olympics.

I'm not really a Federer fan, but the fact that he doesn't fully commit to DC is a major turn-off. Napred Srbija!

Posted by Ruth 01/12/2010 at 05:23 PM

Jamaica Karen: Luckily, I had finished drinking my glass of delicious homemade lemonade before I read your Clijsters-parking lot-racket comment -- orit would have been, by bye keyboard! LOL

Posted by CL 01/12/2010 at 05:24 PM

Alexis - I'll hold your coat. Though in truth, and don't tell anyone, but I think this is one of those posts that Pete tosses out there every now and again to see how the Pavlovian response time among the Twibe is faring. He's 'aving a go' at the WTA AND Fed and is kicking back to see what happens next and weather emergency services will be required. You know - its dark and drear in January and everyone needs a hobby. :-)

Posted by Alexis 01/12/2010 at 05:26 PM

I agree Jamaica Karen.

But one wonders.... if Roddick had been winning nearly everything out there (thereby going deep into all tournaments).... would he have been the same DC stalwart if he had to carry the US by his lonesome? Sure, Fed has had Wawrinka the last couple of years like Roddick had Blake... but oh man, what Fed wouldn't give to have the Bryan Brothers.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 01/12/2010 at 05:27 PM

If I had to choose between keeping DC or tennis in the Olympics, I would definitely choose DC.

Posted by adicecream 01/12/2010 at 05:30 PM

Minority opinion as usual but I love Davis Cup. I've been to two ties in Winston-Salem, US and they were amazing! Cheering and the netheads and lots of noise and fans all over town in the evening. We keep hearing there is no interest but I saw just the opposite.

I'm always disappointed when the big names don't play, but at the same time I can't get too worked up over it. If they only want to represent their countries when they find it convenient, so be it.

Posted by Mr. X 01/12/2010 at 05:31 PM

Hi everyone.
Well, i didnt watch Henin-Clijsters, os i cant really if it was as awesome as some are saying, ot as bad as Pete says. But one thing i dont like about the article: it seems to suggest that every person who watches tennis should prefer a tight match with easy hold after easy hold, decided only in a few points over a tight contrst with plenty of rallies, even though that means more breaks (why do the first option sounds so much like a Sampras match to me?). There are different tastes for different people, and certainly count me in on the group who would prefer the second option. Now, i dont know if Justine-Kim was a chokefest or not, but the fact that there were many breaks wont inmediately lead me to believe it was bad.

"Why don't we just hit the fast-forward button on this issue and leap right to a future in which a tennis has a best-of-seven tiebreakers format, one instead of two serves, and a playing surface slow enough to ensure that we'll have wild rallies that don't just level the playing field, but turn it into a giant-sized craps table?"
Can it be played always on clay? Thank you very much.

As for Roger, i certainly dont question his decission. To me, it's very clear what he's doing. He's keeping Switzerland in the DC waiting for his moment. This year, the moment didnt come (they got the worst draw possible), so he'll wait one more year. But i would beware of the Swiss if they get a draw that Fed likes, because i have no doubt he will play. As for questioning his commitment, very few of the main players have total commitment, as shown recently by guys as Nadal and Roddick.
By the way, Rafa, sit this one out. There's no need to push it, but the pressure here in Spain will still be huge on him to play.

Posted by Ruth 01/12/2010 at 05:34 PM

Happy New Year, phillykat. My Philly son and CNN keep me informed of the wonderful weather you're having in Philyy (tee hee) while I bask in the Caribbean sun! The Mummers were getting ready to march when I headed to the airport on New Year's Day. I'm sure that they put on a good show this year.

Elena: I respect Pete's opinion, but he really only confirmed what I'd heard about the match from TWibers who wrote play-by-play comments while the match was going on and by writers at a couple other tennis blogs I read (craighickmanontennis and others). But, you're right, I'd still like to see the match myself. Maybe, if it's as good as some think, TC will repeat it some time after I return home later this month. No TC here -- just streams on my laptop and TW commentary! :).

But ESPN, USA mainland feed, will be available next week!!!!!

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 01/12/2010 at 05:35 PM

Hey I am not going to Rain On Rogers parade for one minute

When one gets to finally look at his outstanding accomplishments in this game of tennis when he finally hangs up his tennis racquet is anyone really going to nick pick cause he didnt play every DC tie for his country.Roger has in the past and I am most certain in the future will still represent his country.

Posted by kchowcrazy - Go ReRe World #1!! 01/12/2010 at 05:35 PM

Karen 100% agree, i've always said in order for me to root for a player she has 2 be able to serve and not look her box every minute (i will let one of those slide if she entertaining lol) Kim and Justine i am not fans of but i can appreciate what they bring to the game, however i will not get on the saviour of tennis bandwagon when the woman who is #1 has more slams then them COMBINED! i actually think all this talk is disrespectful not only to Serena, Venus and Maria who have basically carried the tour, but to the rest of the WTA top 100 who haven't taken 2 year breaks and play week in week out only to be told they can now sit back and be also rans.

Posted by wilson75 01/12/2010 at 05:35 PM

As I've said before Davis Cup is not an important event because of its flawed format and it's not on TV. In fact I think the Olympics is becoming more important to players because of its prestige but more importantly because it's only every four years.

Re: Roger's decision not to play is the right one as he would've probably ended up carrying the team due to Stan's paternity leave. I hope Rafa doesn't play either, Spain is very strong team and they don't need him for every round.

By the way I clearly remember Sampras and Agassi not playing Davis cup for the USA on many occasions so why should Roger. We have to remember that tennis players have a short career and they are the only ones who know what is the best way to prolong their careers and if they have skip Davis Cup to do that, so be it.

Posted by Master Ace 01/12/2010 at 05:38 PM

Aussiemarg,
When is Craig Tilley going to award the last ATP and WTA wildcard? Bracket for WTA qualifying is not posted as of now.

Posted by Mr. X 01/12/2010 at 05:38 PM

Just as a piece of information, it's Logroño, not Lagrono. However, i understand the "ñ" is difficult for Americans to type.
Of course, being from a country where DC is the second biggest tennis interest, only behind the majors, and every tie Spain plays gets a lot of attention, i like the current format the way it is. I cant help to question if many of those saying it has no relevance are way too influenced by the fact that it has very little relevance in the USA. In other countries, it's very relevant, and let's not forget it's a global event.

Tigress,
Thanks for the info. It makes things easy, honently, and i'm liking your countdown, even if i strongly disagree with other of your comments. Could you explain what do you mean when you say "preordained D.C. first round farce on Spanish clay"?
Anyway, while Fed losing No.1 in Australia is obviosuly unlikely, i think there is a chance. Nole could very well win it, and this is probably the first major in a long time where you can imagine (even if it's a distant posibility) Fed losing at the QFs.
So, with that in mind, are you ready to cheer for Rafa in a hypothetic Rafa-Nole final?:)

Posted by rafadoc 01/12/2010 at 05:39 PM

Hi Folks!

Lammer is through to the second round as JCF rolls his ankle (ouch!) and has to retire. Hope he will be okay for AO.

Annie: Rafa has said he will take 3 weeks off after Rotterdam. DC falls in the time frame so I am hoping he is planning on foregoing DC 1st round, especially since Roger isn't playing. He has a rather important title to defend-ahem- at IW so he needs to be in tip top shape. Not to mention his 2 bestest fans will be there. :)

Posted by CL 01/12/2010 at 05:41 PM

Well count me as one who saw the glass as very much half full in the Justine/Kim match. I saw the moments when they couldn't close out...when they DF-ed...but my, my a fellow named Nadal and a fellow named Federer have had some of the same problems just recently and people don't fling the 'choker' label at them like a wayward strand of pearls. I also saw frustrated looks at friends boxes and lots of string inspections and practice swings. (Not PRACTICE swings!!?? Say it ain't so, Joe.!) I mean, 'cause it IS true that the men NEVER do such things. And as for ALMOST throwing a racket in frustration. Egad, someone call the temper tantrum police...clearly Kim doesn't get it...you are supposed to REALLY throw the racket AND break it. She could study Fed's Miami meltdown for proper form. Or virtually any Safin match. BUT, I ALSO saw a lot of gutsy plays...deep and penetrating shots, great defense and wonderful court movement. (Slide, Kimmy, slide!!) Both Kim and Justine often came up with superb WINNERS - as opposed to letting the other person make an error. Of course it wasn't a perfect match...or maybe even a great match, in the larger pantheon of women's tennis matches, but it was a wonderfully enjoyable and engaging match.

Posted by Grant 01/12/2010 at 05:42 PM

"When one gets to finally look at his outstanding accomplishments in this game of tennis when he finally hangs up his tennis racquet is anyone really going to nick pick cause he didnt play every DC tie for his country."

Of course some people will. Either the people who are looking for an excuse to nitpick, or the people who think DC is super-mega-important.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 01/12/2010 at 05:45 PM

Master Ace I have checked sites.Craig Tiley cant leave it much longer,I dont understand the wait.The only thing springs to mind is they are looking at results in Sydney and Auckland

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 01/12/2010 at 05:46 PM

Master Ace Also Hobart as well.

Posted by Grant 01/12/2010 at 05:46 PM

"But one thing i dont like about the article: it seems to suggest that every person who watches tennis should prefer a tight match with easy hold after easy hold, decided only in a few points over a tight contrst with plenty of rallies, even though that means more breaks"

I will agree in code: Some people like the "face on fire->cheap shot by heel->face in peril->big comeback" formula, and some would rather Mankind climb the cell two minutes in.

Posted by Mr. X 01/12/2010 at 05:47 PM

"As I've said before Davis Cup is not an important event because of its flawed format and it's not on TV"
This is what i mean. Where isnt it on TV? Over here, it's on the most watched TV channel the whole weekend, and it does pretty good ratings.
DC is a global event, i say it again.

Great report, mina. LOL at "it's all about the pretty" and Kleyb's ponytail waiting to be wrung.
Also, great one on the other thread, AM. So, you are a Berdych fangirl now? Well, he has done his fair share of choking, but at least he has been able to deliver in (some) pressure moments:)

Posted by ericinphilly 01/12/2010 at 05:50 PM

early evening everyone!

excited for Sydney to start, tho i will probably be score-boarding it.. saw serena won pretty easily too. awesome!! she must be sighing in relief that her second round wasnt Henin. i am a fan of serena's but that would have been tough. tho she did start out well, so who knows what would happen.

regarding: Davis Cup: i dont really get into it to be honest, just an extra tennis match to me lol.

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