Peter Bodo's TennisWorld - Contrary Optimism
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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 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 Carol ( 2010 Nadal Reign) 01/13/2010 at 07:15 AM

Nadal practicing the service in Melburne

Posted by Carol ( 2010 Nadal Reign) 01/13/2010 at 07:29 AM

Geellis, you're so right. We have that argument for loooong time but Federer fans refuse to see it. Same like he won last two GS titles, number 14 and 15 thanks Nadal injuries, it was A LOT easier to him. Sorry, but it's the TRUE

Posted by Zimbo 01/13/2010 at 07:40 AM

Personally, I always thought Fed has been a bit of a pu$$y when it comes to stepping up to encounters with Nadal. He knows he doesn't have the game to take him on in a 'known' situation. That's why Nadal is the better player - he welcomes the battle.

Posted by Samantha Elin 01/13/2010 at 07:43 AM

One more day before the draw, I'm just hoping Caro and Juju don't have to face one another. Real conflict for me when your two favorites are playing, but I have already decided. Country first. Go Caro and Go Justine.

Posted by Blockhead 01/13/2010 at 07:47 AM

Sorry Pete -- I'll take that Henin-Clijsters match ANY day over the one-note, boooring matches of the Williams sisters, Sharapova, et al.

Both these women know how to play - and they bring it.

Maybe there are some nerves here and there - but I'll take well rounded tennis over one-dimensional scream fests every time.

Posted by Samantha Elin 01/13/2010 at 07:49 AM

You know what always bothered me about Kim is that she has to tell everyone how nice she's which is kind of phoney. It was great that she donated her prize money to a hospital, but she was so anxious to tell everyone. In contrast, Justine donate a lot of her time and money to a cancer clinic in Belgium but doesn't feel the need to advertise it. Just does it quietly. That is geniuine without the need for praise. Go Justine!

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 01/13/2010 at 07:51 AM

If Federer wasn't afraid to face Rafa on Madrid clay (and he didn't seem to be) then I can't see he'd have a problem doing it in DC. (or anywhere else, for that matter.)

GB - driving is possible, just difficult and a bit dangerous where the roads haven't been treated. :) Whereabouts do you live?

Posted by Master Ace 01/13/2010 at 07:54 AM

Wednesday Order of Play:

ATP: Auckland at 5 PM - QF: Lammer vs Montanes
ATP: Auckland at 7 PM - QF: Robredo vs Isner
ATP: Sydney at 7 PM - QF: Starace vs Gasquet with Benneteau vs Mayer to follow on Court 1
WTA: Hobart at 7 PM - QF: A Bondarenko vs Zheng
WTA: Hobart at 8 PM - QF : Flipkens vs Errani with Medina Garrigues vs Dulko to follow
ATP: Auckland at 8:30 PM - QF: Melzer vs Clement
WTA: Sydney at 8:30 PM - SF: S Williams vs Rezai with Azarenka vs Dementieva to follow
WTA: Sydney at 11:00 PM - QF: Baghdatis vs Hewitt
ATP: Auckland at 1:30 AM - QF: Kohlschreiber vs Gicquel
WTA: Hobart at 3 AM - QF: Suarez Navarro vs Peer
ATP: Sydney at 3:30 AM - QF: Fish vs Luczak

Kooyong exo matches start at 7 PM
Fernando Gonzalez vs Tommy Haas
Novak Djokovic vs Fernando Verdasco
Robin Soderling vs Ivan Ljubicic
Andy Murray vs Sam Querrey - Not RR match

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs Juan Martin Del Potro on Friday

Posted by Tfactor 01/13/2010 at 08:20 AM

I'm trying to keep my new year's resolution and not get into any Rafa/Fed debate. I realize it's not going to be easy because I get very defensive about my two top faves.

Anyway, I'm heading to Nevis in a couple of hours to meet Ruth and I'm really looking forward to my first meeting with a fellow Twiber. I must admit I'm a bit down about the situation in Haiti and the fact that I haven't heard from my friends there but I'm sure getting together with her will be a good way to cheer up and lighten my mood.

Posted by Tfactor 01/13/2010 at 08:21 AM

Forgot to thank Malimeda and others for the pics/vid of Rafa practicing in Melbourne :)

Posted by sokol 01/13/2010 at 08:33 AM

I just saw Masha's dress for AO and I like it :-)

Masha's earings for AO from Tiffany:

Posted by sokol 01/13/2010 at 08:34 AM

gilrs preparing for AO:

Posted by sokol 01/13/2010 at 08:35 AM

Berdych lost to Luzcak? WTH, Tomas? *shakes head*

Posted by sokol 01/13/2010 at 08:36 AM

now I'll go read how the match between Lena and Dina went...

Posted by Caroline 01/13/2010 at 08:47 AM

The video not the article ... Cash / Edberg in the last AO final at Kooyong in 1987. A treat and not just for the shorts!!

Posted by Well Left 01/13/2010 at 09:08 AM

Djokovic suggesting Davis Cup be replaced by another competition.
Does that mean he'll bail on Davis Cup this year?
That would be sweet for the US!

Posted by Ruth 01/13/2010 at 09:24 AM

Hey, TFactor...looking forward to meeting you, too. We just returned, with Jamaican patties in hand, from a morning trip to the beach.

I saw the Serena-Vera match via a stream last night -- with no sound! Something definitely was amiss with Vera that helped to make Serena's victory an easier task. But Serena was in full flight, and she definiely hit some beautiful shots last night.

Now, to go check the other overnight scores and read a couple match reports.

See you later, TF!

Posted by Master Ace 01/13/2010 at 09:43 AM

WTA AO Wildcards:

Justine Henin
Olivia Rogowska
Alicia Molik
Casey Dellacqua - Aussie playoff winner
Jarmila Groth
Coco Vandeweghe : American WC
Sesil Karantancheva : Asian WC
Stephanie Cohen-Aloro : French WC

Posted by robbyfan 01/13/2010 at 09:48 AM

Ruth-I am so jealous you are warm and at the beach. What are jamaican patties?

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 01/13/2010 at 09:50 AM

Ruth and Tfactor: have a great day. post a pic if you can :). Would LOVE to be on Nevis with both. sounds warm and relaxing.

I've enjoyed reading these DC posts, particularly md's and Geelis. The Swiss do have an excellent #2. Fed and Stan would make the nucleus of a very tough squad. Oh well, without the committment of the players it's all moot, no? But I love DC regardless of the countries and players involved and will continue to follow the up and downs. Right now the U.S. is in down mode so we wait while Cap Mac grows the team for future years. In the meantime i get to enjoy the Armada's dominance. So, it's all good.

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 01/13/2010 at 09:50 AM

IMO, in addition to pulling all eight quarterfinalists of the Davis Cup World Group together in one neutral site for an incredible 9-day showdown, I would suggest a few other changes to the format.

I agree with Ruth that paying for Sunday's matches when they are dead rubbers is ridiculous and squanders all suspense. One solution to this problem would be to borrow from Billie Jean King's WTT format book and count every set and game, so that the winner is not declared until the sets-won lead is too great to overcome or the sets-won or games-won total is tallied.

Another format change that I think would be terrific is to borrow from the Fed Cup format and hold the doubles last, as the fifth and final rubber. This would place a certain emphasis on the team aspect of Davis Cup., particularly in ties that come down to the wire. It also might entice a number of marquee singles players to keep their doubles games sharp, in case they are called upon to use them in the service of their nation, a la Pete Sampras in the U.S.'s 1995 win over Russia.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 01/13/2010 at 09:54 AM

So MA, Yanina, the prettiest Belgian, has to qualify for AO? it's going to be interesting to see how Justine's draw effects the women. She's a ringer who may upset the status quo. This makes the wta side quite interesting.

Posted by robbyfan 01/13/2010 at 10:00 AM

Can we go off topic now that the topics of DC and Kim/Justine have been beaten on death?

Can someone explain to me the uproar over Lane Kiffin? Where is Matt Zemek by the way?

Posted by Nam1 01/13/2010 at 10:07 AM

malimedia and carol

thx for the pics of Rafa in Melbourne, you just made my day!!

Posted by VC 01/13/2010 at 10:16 AM

Wow, more Weak Era talk! How fascinating! *closes TW window*

Posted by kchowcrazy - Go ReRe World #1!! 01/13/2010 at 10:21 AM

Oh gosh dont no if this has been posted but frazzle alert 4 any serena fans:
she apparently has an ankle injury.

Posted by Ruth 01/13/2010 at 10:29 AM

I'll go off topic, robbyfan, and ask you if you're excited about the ATP tourney that's going to take place in Atlanta in July. Recently, I saw that they had a site set up already with ticket prices etc. Since I won't be among the bigwigs buying tickets for the whole tourney andor for the fancy seats, I'll wait for the sale of single tickets (can't remember the date that was supposed to start, may have started already).

I'm sure there won't be many of the ATP "stars" in the 32-man draw since those stars were already skipping Indy, but I hope that Roddick and Ginepri will play. Regardless of the field, I'm just happy that professional tennis is returning to the metropolitan area which, reportedly, has more recreational tennis players (including TW's Diane and creig bryan :)) and tennis clubs than any other metropolitan area in the USA.

And I'm particularly happy that the ATP is coming to an area that I happen to visit often. :)

Posted by robbyfan 01/13/2010 at 10:35 AM

Hi Ruth-I am very excited about the ATP tourney in July. Already told my husband tickets would make a fine birthday present! Any news where it will be played?

Posted by James 01/13/2010 at 10:37 AM

Nobody cares about Davis Cup! I don't know why "old guys" keep trying to convince "young guys" that it's important.

Posted by sokol 01/13/2010 at 10:42 AM

Rafa, RAndy, MAndy, James practicing in Melbourne:

Posted by Master Ace 01/13/2010 at 10:47 AM

As you heard, Lane is going back to USC with Monte, his dad, and Ed Orgeron(sp). All were on the staff at Tennessee. Ed is a great recruiter and with the Kiffins(espcially the Dad), the fans were expecting good things. Just read where the fans were not happy and was saying Go Home Traitor.

Posted by Ruth 01/13/2010 at 11:05 AM

You know, robbyfan, I can't remember a specific venue being mentioned; I'll have to find the web site again and check that out.

Jamaican patties are sort of crescent shaped pastries filled usually with ground beef but also with other things. Today, my brother got his filled with "salt fish" which is the salted cod fish that used to be (may still be) imported from England to the West Indies and which we grew up eating often. I like salt fish patties,too, but they're a no-no to our American friend Pat who is with us.:)

Posted by robbyfan 01/13/2010 at 11:07 AM

Master Ace-I don't really follow college ball but the response from the Vols seemed over the top!

As always, thanks for all you do keeping us all updated on schedules, scores, etc. Hope you are doing well. Will you come to Atlanta in July?

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 01/13/2010 at 11:11 AM

Well hello TW Tribers,Movers and Shakers,

Its me the one and only Aussimarg reporting to you at my tournament Medibank 2010 I am here day and night with my own brand of "Unique Hard Hitting and Informative Reporting"
that has now taken me to International Rave Reviews World Wide"

Yes thats right Tribers I have gone Global,hey it was only a matter of Time may I add.

Ok I have arrived with Baggage aka hubby Peter.Dont worry I will drop him off in Kenny Rosewall Arena with a couple of packets of Winfield Super Mild Ciggies he will be happy (he better be) cause he has no choice,for starters he is too bloody Slow and he isnt going to cramp my Unique Style.

Well as you know by now this tournament is all about "Moi"

When you get to all my photos at the end of my report I will now outline to you what I was wearing.

Fashionista's Take Note.

I am wearing Chole Top,Aussie Pants,Foggine Italian Bag,Sardi Italian sandals

OK Tribers look,takes notes be jealous and Dieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Also being a total Shoe Fashionista I got hubby to take photo of most wonderful sandals,

You know my motto, "Shoe Love Is True Love".

Seeing Peter was with me,well he was in it for the Free tickets I took a photo of him to.

Picked out by Moi of course,who else??

Gant tee shirt,Hugo Boss Denim Shorts and Italian slip ons.

Moving on,I spotted TW Stalker Mina on my entrance and Peter took a photo of us in her "Potato Sack" Ha Ha Mina,thats for not coming to my rescue yesterday when I was having a "moment" with Tomas and The Beautiful One aka Feli interrupted us somewhat.She was on duty so I said goodbye.Hey I am a woman on a mission.No time for idle chit chat.

Ok Stop,Stop,Stop,remember last year Tribers when a Max Factor woman asked Moi of all people if I would like a make over?????????.The hide of the woman,well my prayers have been answered and some incredible person either burnt it down or just got rid of it, remember,

"Chanel Woman Dont Do Max Factor".

I wanted to dump oops sorry escort Peter to Kenny Rosewall Arena cause he is too slow and walks about 500 miles behind me then he said I will come with you and take photos? Holy Hell I thought do you have to,though remembering that wonderful Gemstone Antique Bracelet he brought for me at Chritmas,I thought ok just for 10 mins or so.Hey I can be compassionate too!!!.

Well I thought we would cruise the practice courts,good grief does the Little Aussie Battler eat,sleep and breathe on this court or own shares? hurry up hubby I said just take a photo of Lleyton and lets move on.

Spotted Dave Taylor and Sam Stosur,well it was my National duty to go and watch,come on hubby you are too bloody slow.Sam was having a hit up with some junior boy.Well its now or neverI thought as I walked towards Dave and had a quiet but firm word.Sam is in great physical shape let me say but her game at the moment is crap.I said to Dave where has Sams f/hand gone? her f/hand in that game against Flavie was non exsistant.She has to believe in herself more if she wants to break into the top 10.This recent play of hers isnt going to cut it.Also this swan song of "nerves" in a match has run dry with me,she has been on the tour too long.Ok I didnt want to start a Aussie Revolution but Dave agreed with me and his first words were "her f.hand indeed".Well Dave I hope she gets it together for the AO Open? he relpied "I hope so too".Ok enough said and wandered off,gee where the hell was Peter? about 500 miles behind me.Patience Margaret I said,yes its bloody running thin let me tell you.

Eventually hubby caight up with me and wanted a coffee,geez this is going to be a long day if we are to stop off for coffee every 5 mins.Ok I said.I wanted to go down to the back practice courts,come on I yelled we can drink,walk at the same time.Ahhhh Umpire Steve Ulrich walked by and smiled.I am in love with Steves voice,when he is finished as a umpire he could host game shows or even do voice over commercials.I would have loved to have a photo with him,but my Baggage was soo far behind as usual!!!!!!!!!!.

Walked past court 1 Yikes The Fish was playing,as usual my rule is

"Real Men Wear Full Socks" dont worry Beth I had no intention of wasting my film on The Fish.

I knew I should have brought my ear muffs Azarenka was on practice court,hurry up Peter I yelled I dont want us both to have burst ear drums,he took a photo or two and we quickly departed.Also got a photo of Andreev he needs to visit that tanning salon ASAP.

I spotted Carsten Ball so we cruised over to get some action shots TW Stalker Mina was watching,gee that gilr sure gets around.Hubby took a couple of shots.May I say he was now getting on my nerves Big Time,I needed a plan to get him onto Kenny Rosewall arena

Walking down near the 1st practice court I spotted Kuzzy practising

Good Grief I refused to take photo of her.Kuzzy please you need to go to the gym Pronto I dont need to see "Love Handles" Shudders!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

I also noticed Dani H practising ,well apart from having 12 foot long legs which are like sticks by the way she could do Macca's for the rest of the year.Darren Cahill please take note,seeing you are her coach.Yikes.

Well I needed a break so hubby and I,yes Tribers he is still around decided to go to Kenny Rosewall arena where Victor Troicki was playing Marcos aka Baggy.Trying to see Vctors Hot g/freind though she was no where in sight.Marcos has that new wave Bun thingy going on Again???? Fergus Murphy was the umpire,thank goodness he was wearing a Cap cause
"Red Bald Heads" is never a good look.

I wanted to watch Flavia cause I have always loved that girl,well seeing I share a connection,well we were both born in Italy.Holy Hell she was playing The Hooker and got bageled in the 2ns set."Faints" apparently Hooker clothes do work in daylight hours.

My new love and man Tomas was playing so I quickly raced to his court.Who was there TW Stalker Mina and I sat down next to her.Apparently Nic had left for a toilet break.Well what a performance he put on in the 1st set 6-1 over Aussie Peter L. I took some shots and left certain he was on the right road to victory.

Well time to have lunch,I still had my Shadow with me.Well in a way its great to have your own personal camera guy walking 500 miles behind you????? though he still at times was a pain in the Butt!!!!!!!!!!.Like he wanted to stop for Ciggie Breaks.Hey I havent time to stop let alone him have ciggie breaks.

Crap total Crap I looked at the main score board and "Fainted" Peter L of all people had beaten my man Tomas??????????

Had I jumped ship too soon I thought to myself.At least my former love Tommy had single handed won the Hopman Cup for Spain??,Ponders ?!?.

Ok time to move back to Kenny Rosewall arena missed the Little Aussie Battlers game,though goodness me if he coudnt beat Seppi? no offence to my Italian friends.

Well i am waiting for Serema's match .Hurry up Serena I dont want to get sun on my face if I get any damage I will hunt you down at the AO Open in Melbourne where you can pay for my Plastic Surgery ok like you earn enough.

Ok Serena you get my Fashionista awar for the best dressed female.Me likey your outfit the black and orange with the white cap just looks amazing +_100000000000000000

Also I loved Vera in all peach colour too.

Serena's serve is just great to watch.She was hitting her ground shots with depth,I love that way she moves she has plenty of time on the ball to play the shot.Vera also impressed me with her play from the baseline.Though in the end Serena just too good.

Well it was my time to go and watch my girl Safina do her warm up.She was replaying the final last year with Elena.I wondered to myself what kind of mood she would be in.Heaven knows with this girl she can change like the wind.She looked ok to me in practice ok lets forget the serve.I got chatting to some other fans and said she always signs autographs after her practice sessions.Holy Hell she was in no mood as she rushed off the court and yelled "I am not stopping".Good grief I thought to myself I am watching her match later.Lucky I have extra Valium and there are bars serving alchol here.I will need both.

Walking back past the Media Centre Demi C was signing aautographs and getting pictires with fans,gee she was happy and I asked her if I could take a photo,she smiled back and was very obliging.

Safina please take note.

Hubby wanted another Cancer Stick,ok I thought have another I am off to see who else I can spy.

To my surprise Kuzzy had taken over Lleyton practice court thank goodness she had covered up her "Love Handles" so I took my trusty camera out and took some shots.

hubby had taken a longer ciggie break than normal,so I thought stuff him I am a woman on a Mission time waits for no man,woman or child.

There was a mob hanging around the Media Centre so I thought I better check it out,wow to my surprise Serena had just finished her media commitments.She looked happy and relaxed,might I add I love her hair now so I got a shot and had to go off lokking for hunny who was probably near his favourite tree lighting up.Yes I was right and sprung him.Gosh He had two packets of ciggies,wonder if he had any left.Knowing him he probably studded a extra packet in his undies.

After having a quick bite to eat we took our seats in Kenny Rosewall arena for Safinas match.What timing a big thunderstorm had hit and we were told it would be delayed for a least 1/2 an hour.Absolute Bummer I thought.Ok its now 8.30pm in Sydney they are soaking up the wet on court with squeeze mops first and then warm blowers.Hey what about covers on court for starters I thought.Stuff this new wave stuff.Gee my Safina wasnt in a good mood before the match,heaven knows what frame of mind she will be in when she finally takes to the court.Will i take that extra Valium I thought to myself? why not I am used to living on the Wild Side.After all this is a Safina Match.

Well its 9.15pm and the players arrive on court.They were 2 crazy woman fans sitting in front of me who were supporters of Safina in Swedish Hats????,I asked them why the hats? they relied well its a Safina match.

Hey these woman are my kind of people.So I took a shot of them.Plain crazy but lovable just the same.

I noticed Safina has taken up "Jiggling action" on her return of serve.Shades of Marion Bartoli sprung to mind.Shudders!!!!!!!

Well true to from Safina was soo out of touch in the 1st set.She improved slightly in the 2nd set but credit to Elena just too good and deserved her win

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh back to the drawing board for you Safina.

Well hubby and I left Medibank at 11.00pm.Peter said he enjoued every moment.Yeah like it was Free.Once a Scot always a Scot.

Well tribers I had unturned every possible stone I could find as usual in my mission "WORD". Thats right you will have to wait until the AO Open until my return to stamp my "Unique Style of Reporting"

Thats all from me ----- Medibank 2010.

Over and Out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Ruth 01/13/2010 at 11:12 AM

robbyfan:Here's a link to the site -- no venue mentioned. But how can they sell tickets if the venue hasn't been decided??? Hmmmm.

TFactor just called to say that she's boarded the ferry to Nevis, so I have to get ready to go and meet her. See you all later.

Posted by CL 01/13/2010 at 11:26 AM

Ooohh...I see that the 'weak era' argument reared its ugly head here at TW land during the relatively 'wee' hours. What is it about GSs...or even approaching GSs.. that causes Zombi Ponies to arise from the grave. Just coincidentally, I was mildly surprised to be reminded that Andre Aggassi's GS victories came over opponents that included, but were not limited to, Medvedev, Clement, and Schuettler. In an era that also included players named Sampras and and Courier and Kuerton, among many others. Weak, I tell ya, weak.

None of which is anywhere near as interesting as the parade of Fashion names that roll so trippingly from Aussiemarge's tongue.

Posted by sokol 01/13/2010 at 11:31 AM

my posts are not getting through...


Posted by tennisesq. 01/13/2010 at 11:32 AM

Aussiemarg, you rule!

Posted by robbyfan 01/13/2010 at 11:41 AM

Aussie Marg- I am living vicariously through your wonderful accounts and pictures. Please keep them coming!

Posted by Jamaica Karen 01/13/2010 at 11:45 AM

Robbyfan, not sure if Ruth responded, but as a Jamaican, I will attempt to describe the 8th wonder of the world of food to you. A Jamaican patty is basically a meat filled pastry. It is usually seasoned ground beef encased in a flaky pastry and served hot usually at a fast food joint in Jamaica or any other Caribbean Island (or even in the States or Canada) where there is a strong Jamaican contingent (which is basically everywhere). It is usually accompanied by another wonder of the Jamaican food industry, a coco bread (have no idea why it is called that, it has been the name since childhood) and washed down with a soft drink (what you guys called a soda). It is usually the lunch meal of choice for countless Jamaican children. The best ones are made by a company called Tastee, followed closely by Juici Beef. Back in the day you only had one variety, the beef, but as everyone has become health conscious, you now have chicken, vegetables, as well as seafood patties. If you live anywhere near to a strong Jamaican contingent, you should try it.

Posted by VC 01/13/2010 at 11:45 AM

Aussiemarg : Brilliant report as always, keep them coming!

Posted by Master Ace 01/13/2010 at 11:46 AM

Thanks for the reports. See the "potato sack" on Mina and it does not look all that bad and you did not succeed in leaving hubby at Rosewall Arena.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 01/13/2010 at 11:46 AM

Hi, everyone,

Aussiemarg! 5 gold stars to you! Brilliant report and yes, you definitely rule!!!

Posted by Master Ace 01/13/2010 at 11:47 AM

Good question about Atlanta in July. Thought about Memphis in a few weeks but I went over my budget during the holidays so Memphis is out.

Posted by robbyfan 01/13/2010 at 11:52 AM

Jamaican Karen-sounds as if you are describing that scottish delicacy, a meat pie or cornish pastie smothered in HP sauce. Now my stomach is grumbling.

MA-Atlanta would be closer for you wouldn't it? Also time to pay off the credit cards bills myself!

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 01/13/2010 at 11:54 AM

Aussiemarg... you crack me up! Nice shots, but remind hubby that he can use the zoom... lol.

James, your 10:37 AM comment merely displays your ignorance. I suggest you go see a DC match live, then report what you think. Until then, you're just being a spoiler. Nobody cares about a spoiler.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 01/13/2010 at 11:57 AM

Yummy, cornish pastie. Not with HP sauce though. Nice little pub here sells them, to die for!

Posted by CL 01/13/2010 at 12:02 PM

Caroline - thank you thank you thank you!!!! for that link to the video of the Edberg/Cash match. Great quality video and great quality tennis.

And great quality short shorts!! (Hey - maybe more volleying = shorter shorts; more baseline = longer shorts? Let's here it for volleys!!!) Also, Edberg -BH Volley GOAT, Legs GOAT, and Hair, (Blonde Division) GOAT.

Posted by Grant 01/13/2010 at 12:02 PM

"sounds as if you are describing that scottish delicacy, a meat pie or cornish pastie smothered in HP sauce. Now my stomach is grumbling."

Before Jamaican Karen answered, I was going to define a patty as 'a meat pie, but better'.

Posted by sokol 01/13/2010 at 12:07 PM

thanks, AM, for the report...

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 01/13/2010 at 12:09 PM

LOL @ Kuzzy's "love handles". :)

Thanks again, Aussiemarg. Love them. :)

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 01/13/2010 at 12:10 PM

AM: wow! great report. Loved the pics. especially the one of you and mina.

mina's uniform looks fab. I, for one, like the floppy hat and cute shorts. she pulls it off in true aussie fashion. And peter looks like he was enjoying himself. I'm sure you didn't let him cramp your considerable style. thanks AM

Posted by beth 01/13/2010 at 12:13 PM

AM- another fun report - you see this is why I do not bring my husband along to the matches when I go - but , well , at least mine does not smoke
jealous of Ruth and all of you in warm Caribbean climes - as well as the Aussie summer
we are on a brief vacation here in the mountains and it is snowing today

somehow , I just knew that the Kiffin thing would make a tennis board
I am having mixed feelings here
I would have preferred a more experienced head coach for my Trojans - but at least he has been there and knows some of these young men all ready
And he is bringing a totally all star assistant staff - so it will be ok
But , not at all surprised at the reaction of the Tennessee faithful to his departure . I am sure they feel about Kiffin now , like I feel about Nick Saban , when he left LSU for bigger and better programs - and money .

Posted by Jamaica Karen 01/13/2010 at 12:16 PM

Robbyfan, funny you should say that because a Scottish fellow I knew when eating a Jamaican patty for the first time said, hmm, it looks like a pasty, but once you bite it you realise just how different it is. If you have no fear of your cholesterol rising, you should try it.

Posted by robbyfan 01/13/2010 at 12:18 PM

It sounds just wonderful! Can they be found in the colonies?

Posted by Master Ace 01/13/2010 at 12:32 PM

You know better that Lane will be covered. By the way, have USC signed Chow yet?

Posted by thebigapple 01/13/2010 at 12:46 PM

Just to add - I think the patty and pastie are related. One could guess that Scots working as overseers on slave plantation brought the pastie to Jamaica in days past and it was adopted and adapted to become the patty. Whatever the history, after having recently eating both - the patty is a vast improvement on the pastie. A good patty is a pastie with sytle, taste, attitude.....

Posted by Caroline 01/13/2010 at 01:05 PM

CL, so pleased you picked it up. I thought you might have the same reaction that I did!!

Beth, just seen that you're around. How has your son got over losing your dear old dog? Our old boy is getting a little frail (at 14 1/2) but still soldiering on. We've got two youngsters - adorable - but the old boy is very special.

Posted by observer 01/13/2010 at 01:35 PM

Anyone read Perrotta's article on homepage? I like his writing but I thought he was unnecessarily dire on the WTA's future outlook. Although I realize it was his job with the article to predict the future, part of the problem with that is that a future member of the tennis elite can come out of nowhere (or relative junior obscurity) and assert himself or herself in a single season or even a single tournament. It has to start somewhere, and often there is probably very little indication it will occur.

My main concrete problem is that he points to men's tennis having a great future because a bunch of 21-22 year-olds have established themselves as the 3-5th best players in the world (Murray, Novak, JMDP). He ignores, however, that one of the people he considers the WTA's old guard, which he is worried will be gone before the next generation of elite arrives, is Maria Sharapova, who is only a MONTH older than Murray and Novak and a year older than JMDP. It's no big deal, but it's just strange that people who are for all intents and purposes the same exact age can either be seen as promising youngsters pointing to a bright future for one tour or the fading elite who will not have a replacement on the other tour.

Posted by greenhopper 01/13/2010 at 01:46 PM

Kooyong today's schedule, starting at 7pm TW time.

Tommy Haas vs Fernando Gonzalez
Novak Djokovic vs Fernando Verdasco
Robin Soderling vs Ivan Ljubicic
Andy Murray vs Sam Querrey

Posted by Master Ace 01/13/2010 at 02:01 PM

Agree with you on Maria as she had success early in her career winning Wimbledon in 2004 and follow that with 2 more Slams and making boatload of SF or better before her shoulder became an issue.

Posted by FoT 01/13/2010 at 02:01 PM

Can someone post the link where Roger and Justine are practicing with each other at the AO? I can't find it. Thanks.

Posted by Pspace (Lookin' for Court No. 3) 01/13/2010 at 02:08 PM

FoT, they weren't practicing with each other ;-)...surest way for Fed to lose at Oz.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 01/13/2010 at 02:10 PM

FoT, this is the clip, don't know if they are practising together or not.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 01/13/2010 at 02:12 PM

to clear that up, the person who posted said "here is a clip of fed and justine
practicing." I thought they were going to be together too!!

Posted by Pspace (Lookin' for Court No. 3) 01/13/2010 at 02:16 PM

Fwiw, Fed seems to be hitting with his "lucky" practice partner Stephan Koubek...the one who he whisked away to the hills in Sardinia prior to Rome last year. Dunno who Justine is playing with.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 01/13/2010 at 02:18 PM

They do love fed down there. It's titled "Tennis Royalty Practice."

Posted by federerfan 01/13/2010 at 02:21 PM

i think we can find a clue as to why fed doesnt put DC high on his priority list, in one of his comments, very early in his career, about why he chose tennis as opposed to Soccer. I think he said something like "bcos in tennis, I control my own destiny!"

So while those who are trying to judge fed's apparent lack of interest in DC and 'arrogant SoB' or 'spineless sissy' might provide convenient gratification to some, the above quote from fed, is a good enough explanation for me (an olympic doubles medal not withstanding).

Posted by VC 01/13/2010 at 02:25 PM

Fed looks to be putting some serious snap into his volleys in that video.

Posted by greenhopper 01/13/2010 at 02:32 PM

AM, I'm blaming you for this laughing fit. You're awesome. Thanks for the photos as well.

Posted by Pspace (Lookin' for Court No. 3) 01/13/2010 at 02:40 PM

LOL, yeah. Great reportage AM. And, nice sandals too, btw!

Posted by tinalidav 01/13/2010 at 02:44 PM

"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?"

Given that fans broadly care about Ryder Cup, yes.

Posted by Mr and Mrs. D. 01/13/2010 at 02:59 PM

I knew AM must have been exaggerating about the "potato sack". After all, with the right accessories....

btw, AM, LOVE your reports.

Posted by Samantha Elin 01/13/2010 at 02:59 PM

Here are my picks for the slam, Serena, AO champion, Juju FO champion, Venus Wimbledon, Caro, USO champion. Caro Black on the Williamses, "they're are annoying." Could this be because everyone know the Williamses are really the no 1 doubles team and that Black's team always losses against them. I think so!

Posted by Alexis 01/13/2010 at 03:00 PM

Well I can see that the anti-Fed sentiment came out early this morning didn’t it?

md: I have no doubt that there are others like you who think Fed not winning a DC for Switzerland will taint his legacy. Seems to me that he has put Switzerland on the tennis map and he has done more for Swiss Tennis than anyone. But like I said, maybe if he was as lucky as Sampras, who could skip the DC first round (for the same reasons Fed does) and ‘save the day’ for the final… well, Fed would have a DC title too.

Geellis: Who said Graf is not considered the GOAT for the women? She’s ones of them. Just like Fed is for the men. Personally, I don’t think there is one definitive GOAT on either side.

Carol: I always find it funny when people trash this era as being weak for Fed… except for Nadal, of course. If this era is weak for Fed, then it is weak for Nadal. If anyone wants to trash Fed’s 15 GS, trash Nadal’s 6. If you want to trash Fed’s streaks on grass or hardcourt, you better trash Nadal’s on clay. If Fed has no competition, then neither does Nadal. And by the way, it ain’t like Nadal didn’t play the FO, he did. He lost. Fed made the final, Nadal didn’t. The way it goes. And injuries are a part of the game. No doubt that Nadal not playing Wimbledon allowed Fed to gain 2000 points on him, but Roger still had to win the title to take over #1. And this year, Nadal will be the one who can claim those points back because he will have nothing to defend.

Zimbo: yeah, Fed’s afraid. So afraid after all those losses that he still played Madrid, on clay in front of a partisan crowd and beat Nadal. Yeah, that’s being a wuss!

Posted by Skyla 01/13/2010 at 03:04 PM

Umm, when exactly has Fed shirked DC? He's played every single year since 1999. He's played 48 matches, that's more than American "stalwart" Roddick who has played 42.

Is there any doubt that if his team could get itself to the semifinal that he wouldn't jump in then to lead them to the win like Sampras did? And Sampras gets props for that???

In 2008 Nadal (whom I like) played exactly 3 DC matches as his part in winning the Cup and gets paraded around like a DC savior?? For Fed to win he would have had to play 4 ties and every one of 12 matches AND win them all. Playing 3 5 set matches in 3 days is a totally different ballgame than playing 2 in 3 days as the vast majority of other DC singles players do.

Posted by Master Ace 01/13/2010 at 03:04 PM

Well, I have almost completed my WTA contenders and floaters list. I may have a surprise or two. And, I may repost my 2010 list on 5 players that needs to step up.

Posted by rudy3 (Proud Rafaelite since 2005) 01/13/2010 at 03:17 PM

"If anyone wants to trash Fed’s 15 GS, trash Nadal’s 6."

Rafa has had to beat the Fed for all 6 of his slam titles. Can't trash somebody who has had to beat the GOAT everytime to win 6 slams.

Posted by Master Ace 01/13/2010 at 03:26 PM

Agree with the post but my interpretation is they are saying that if Roger and Rafael can win 21 Slams, the ATP '00 era is weak.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 01/13/2010 at 03:27 PM

Good Morning Everyone

Gee I had little sleep

Though I am working the afternoon shift at Medibank

No rest for the wickard they say

Posted by Kristy (at work) 01/13/2010 at 03:28 PM

AM, your reports are fantastic. Keep 'em coming!

Have you seen Roddick? Oh pleeease give news of him if you do.

Roddick fans: Unexpectedly good start to 2010, no? I was fearing the worst after his
injury hiatus. I suspect Brooklyn is good for his calm and focus -- she's a sports fan, apparently, and as a model is no stranger to fitness regimens and spartan diets.

Posted by FoT 01/13/2010 at 03:28 PM

Thanks for the link guys! Does it seem like Roger has lost weight in that video clip? I mean, he looks in shape, but it looks like he's lost weight too. Hey, I'm ready for the AO! Now that I'm retired, I can stay up (or get up) to watch all the unusual timeframe matches LIVE! I hope my favorite (Roger) wins...! Good luck Roger!

Posted by VC 01/13/2010 at 03:29 PM

Why trash anyone's record at all? Maybe they are just that good. Just an idea, you know.

Posted by Alexis 01/13/2010 at 03:29 PM

Skyla, that's what I've been trying to get across. Sampras and others had it much easier because of the depth of their teams.

Pete actually says that Roger playing DC every year doesn't *really* count because he has skipped the first round, but always played the relegration round to keep Switzerland in the WG. See... the relegation round doesn't count, so any match wins that Roger gets from that means he's achieving them through the 'back door'.

As I have said REPEATEDLY, I have absolutely no problem with anyone praising John McEnroe or Borg (or any player like that) who have been DC stalwarts during their careers. But please stop trying to put down Federer as not having a DC title like Sampras, or Agassi, or even Nadal who have DC titles where they didn't have to play every tie for their country to win. And that's only talking singles for them!

I have nothing against DC at all, but in this day and age, I think it is very tough for the very top players to give their all for Davis Cup in all matches and it all ties AND try to be at their peak performance for all the other events that their *supposed* to win.

Posted by antoinette 01/13/2010 at 03:30 PM

@ Rudy , of course you can, if you have an agenda you can find any number of nonsensical ways to trash or denigrate someone's achievements. Hence the "weak era" and unfavourable "h2h" arguments.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 01/13/2010 at 03:30 PM

Fox Sport News,January 13th,2010.

Juan Carlos Ferrero has a ankle injury after AUckland leaving him in doubt for next weks AO Open.

bernard Tomic notedched up another win at the World Tennis Challenge on Wednesday defeating Radek Stepanek 62,26,10-4 in the super tie break.

Posted by VTTennis 01/13/2010 at 03:34 PM

One of the real joys of DC/Fed Cup is that they are often played in out-of-the-way locations (Oregon, NC, Vermont) which would otherwise never really get a chance to see the pro game. Even these locations sell out regularly, and usually not because tennis fanatics are streaming in from out of town -- the Fed Cup tie in Stowe had a wonderful melange of true tennis fans and others just happy to get out, wave the flag, and see something new.

To go to a one location playoff format would likely restrict its locations to big sites (i.e. Indian Wells, Flushing Meadows, etc. to cite US-based examples) and eliminate the intimate feel of the ties, which I think amplify the atmosphere and joy of watching these teams play. It's harder on the players, but generally better for the fans.

Posted by Alexis 01/13/2010 at 03:35 PM

"If anyone wants to trash Fed’s 15 GS, trash Nadal’s 6."

Rafa has had to beat the Fed for all 6 of his slam titles. Can't trash somebody who has had to beat the GOAT everytime to win 6 slams.

Yeah, and I have all the respect in the world for him in doing that. But if I'm not mistaken, Nadal has been around for 11 of Fed's 15 GS titles... So Nadal was losing to alot more than just the "GOAT" in this weak era...

Posted by Alexis 01/13/2010 at 03:37 PM

Let's hope JCF is okay for the AO - I met the guy in Cincy and he's a doll.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 01/13/2010 at 03:42 PM

The final w/cards were announced,

Victorians Jarmila Groth for the WTA

Marinko Matoservic for the ATP.

Posted by Alexis 01/13/2010 at 03:46 PM

I can't believe I'm going to say this... but I can't wait until the draw comes out so we can argue about that rather than Bodo's yearly Federer/DC assault. So tired of it.

Here's hoping the draw is fairly even and that neither half is markedly easier than the other one.

Posted by VC 01/13/2010 at 03:50 PM

With the depth in men's tennis these days, it's hard to imagine any cupcake draws anymore.

Posted by Alexis 01/13/2010 at 04:00 PM

VC, I agree that is true with GS and 1000-level events.

But even in a GS, you can still have a quarter or half that is markedly easier than another. And obviously a draw can open up with upsets.

Posted by Alexis 01/13/2010 at 04:01 PM

"With the depth in men's tennis these days, it's hard to imagine any cupcake draws anymore"

VC... didn't you know, this is a weak era!

Posted by VC 01/13/2010 at 04:09 PM

Alexis : Don't worry, when Fed wins anything, it automatically becomes a Weak Era!

Posted by lollipop 01/13/2010 at 04:13 PM

does anyone know when the AO draw is supposed to come out?

Posted by Grant 01/13/2010 at 04:15 PM

"Here's hoping the draw is fairly even and that neither half is markedly easier than the other one."

But then we won't be able to argue about it, and we'll be stuck with Fed/DC.

Posted by Master Ace 01/13/2010 at 04:21 PM

Draw is scheduled to come out on Friday(Thursday evening USA). Hope they do the draw live on AO radio(and/or TV) when I am at home from the day job.

New post by Pete is up concerning a format that he does not like.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 01/13/2010 at 05:10 PM

I always feel the draws at majors are as even as they can be because the seeds are spread out evenly among field.

Posted by Ruth 01/13/2010 at 05:50 PM

I was just reviewing some of the comments posted earlier this morning -- and while I was enjoying a wonderful lunch and visit with TFactor...and I have to make one correction:

I never said, as SnD stated, that I thought that paying for Sunday matches that were dead rubbers is silly.(Must have been someone else.) I understand completely why DC tickets are usually sold in three-day packages rather than singly and why, therefore, you pay for whatever comes on third day. And one of the reasons is that one cannot predict whther the Sunday matches will be dead rubbers or crucial, nail-biting deciding factors in the tie. I would imagine, though, that if the 3-day tickets dont sell outuu, the directors could or would sell Sunday tickets separately.

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