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Learning to Un-Think 03/02/2010 - 4:04 PM

96465064 by Pete Bodo

When Ana Ivanovic repaired to the locker room in the bowels of Madison Square Garden after losing a very close one-set semifinal tussle in the Billie Jean King Cup exhibition yesterday, her first words to Kim Clijsters, the woman who beat her, were: "I've never been introduced in a match as being a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model!"

Clijsters, having been rather less sexily introduced as the first mother to win Wimbledon since Evonne Goolagong in 1980, shared a laugh with Ivanovic over that presumed honor, although Kim had other things on her mind - namely, Venus Williams, whom she would have to face shortly in the best-of-three, no-ad scoring final of the exo (more about that tomorrow; as most of you know, Venus won, 7-5 in the third).

It was a characteristically innocent remark by Ivanovic; she seems amazed that her cameo in the famous swimsuit issue has generated so much hype (at least in the U.S.). And when she related her exchange with Clijsters, it was in the same breathless, giggly manner with which she'd undoubtedly shared her surprise - a manner of engagement with which we all are by now familiar.

Ivanovic meets the world with a smile, and her laughter is unmistakably nervous; I take all that as a sublimation of her essential shyness. You just know that someone so prone to the breathless and cheerful has something to hide - herself. And that's not a criticism. The behaviors are a psychic olive branch, offered by one who's not entirely comfortable as the center of attention, perhaps not even in her own skin. If it could be done in a seemly, lady-like manner, Ivanovic would probably roll onto her back at the sight of you, exposing her tummy with her paws in the air.

This complicates things considerably, because it might seem that Ivanovic has very little to smile about these days, given her plummet in the rankings (to a present No. 27). The state of her game reinforces the idea that her girlish ways are a defense mechanism. What on earth does this girl have to be happy about? is a natural question to ask.

But the answer to that might be: quite a bit. After all, not every circus clown is crying inside, despite the popularity of that narrative. And some people aren't happy because of this or that (like, say, a lucrative lifetime endorsement deal with Adidas?), they're just, well. . . happy. They write songs about such people. Some of us mistrust such people. And such people are not supposed to be top tennis players. In Ivanovic's case, that issue is far from resolved.

Yesterday, Ivanovic seemed content with herself, and convincingly happy with her game, optimistic about her prospects in the big upcoming tournaments at Indian Wells and Miami. She was the opposite - and strikingly so - of the defensive, unhappy player she has ever right to be. Sorry to disappoint anyone who would have it any other way.

Ivanovic's sunny disposition - is there a WTA player who seems more gentle and innocent? - must be one reason she seems so relaxed; her shyness and the particular way she expresses it also advance the theory. And while those qualities will not win her matches or help her rein in that gone-wild ball toss, they're not bad allies in her ongoing battle against loss of confidence and self-esteem. And now there's another factor shaping her view of the future, her new coach, Heinz Gunthardt, who has coached (among others), Steffi Graf. You remember Steffi, aka Mrs. Andre Agassi? Can anyone be shy in so different a way than Ivanovic?

That's all okay with Heinz; he's an equal-opportunity shy-player shaper. And he's as shrewd and perceptive a judge of a player's hidden nature and abused assets as anyone. Gunthardt and Ivanovic have only worked together for 10 days, but Ivanovic says she can "feel" a huge improvement. And very few damaged players would have said, as Ivanovic did yesterday immediately after she lost to Clijsters, "I'm so excited, I wish I could go back on the practice court to hit more balls."

Ivanovic believes she's playing better, which is more than half the battle. She also admitted that her slump cut a little deeper than typical professional problems do, even though bouts of Marat Safin-esque introspection are not her forte. "It hurts (emotionally)," she said. "You play bad one week and it's okay, it happens. But when it's week after week, it gets. . . hard. You think, 'This is what I do best, and this is all I can do?'

The recent Fed Cup disaster in Serbia probably was Ivanovic's low point, or so she must hope. She admits to having felt an enormous amount of pressure playing against the Russians in front of her partisan countrymen in Belgrade (Ivanovic lost both her singles, and was part of the losing doubles team). But she says that's behind her now. A lot is behind her. "I see everything more clearly now because I'm playing better. I've been defending too much, when naturally I am an aggressive player."

Ivanovic isn't the first mild-mannered personality to pursue an aggressive style of play, but the contrast between her temperament and her most effective game is especially striking. Gunthardt feels he knows the root causes of the recent problems that helped wreck her confidence.

"The first thing I told Ana when we considered working together was, 'Forget about technique; there's nothing wrong your technique,'" Gunthardt told me last night. "The most important thing, I told her, was that when you start to think about something that comes naturally - like swallowing, or breathing - you can't do it naturally anymore."

One morning, Gunthardt surprised Ana by asking her to start practice by hitting 40 serves. He stood by, watching and counting, as she slowly unlimbered and served ball after ball. After the 40th ball, he remarked, "Your ball toss, it's perfect every time."

The very next toss, Gunthardt said, went astray. He smiled at her. Point made.

So the primary mission for Gunthardt is teaching or showing Ivanovic how to un-think. That's a somewhat delicate assignment, but both coach and player are well-designed for it. Gunthardt has a logical, keen, perceptive mind; he knows how to challenge a player, intellectually, by playing devil's advocate. He knows as much about mental as physical stretching. Ivanovic has surprised him with her intellect. "She's much more well-rounded and astute than the other women I've dealt with recently," he told me. "She's certainly the first player who's quoted (Sigmund) Freud to me."

Of course, being smart won't get it done for Ivanovic, nor will being well-read. She faces a tough, obstacle-strewn road, but she's shown an impressive degree of patience with herself. That's not to be underestimated - a player at war with herself is useless. 

Ivanovic says she's "very determined" to get back to the top; she smiled as she said that, but I was long past questioning her resolve or sincerity. "I still love the game," she added, "But the way I've been playing - well, it didn't make it very enjoyable."

It isn't exactly crying clown territory, but it's as close as someone with as sanguine a disposition as Ivanovic is apt to come.

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Posted by VC 03/02/2010 at 04:15 PM

Wow, thanks for the great article. Love the inside information and conversation with Gunthardt. I hope it works out well for her.

"If it could be done in a seemly, lady-like manner, Ivanovice would probably roll onto her back at the sight of you, exposing her tummy with her paws in the air."

Interesting mental picture.

Posted by Sherlock 03/02/2010 at 04:20 PM

Loved this, Pete. It's exciting to see if Mr. Gunthardt can work some magic here. Nice to see that Ana is being patient and is anxious to work hard.

Though after reading this, I almost find myself rooting for her. Ignorance was much easier, when I could simply root against those annoying fist pumps. :)

Posted by Sherlock 03/02/2010 at 04:21 PM

VC, he he. I wasn't touching that one. Though I imagine Pspace will. :)

Posted by Pspace (Proud Rafaelite since Shakira) 03/02/2010 at 04:22 PM

"The most important thing, I told her, was that when you start to think about something that comes naturally - like swallowing, or breathing - you can't do it naturally anymore."

Amen. I guess, tossing yips are very hard to understand for people who don't suffer from them. I don't and I don't. Anyways, one of the first things that I took away from playing tennis (and other racquet sports) is not to think too much about technique during a match. Do all the thinking on the practice court, and turn that part of your brain off during a match. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. But, you rarely get reduced to a nervous wreck during a match. Anyways, view from the couch is easy...I don't play with 200K on the line for a set.

Posted by Pspace (Proud Rafaelite since Shakira) 03/02/2010 at 04:23 PM

Sherlock, haha, now I'm gonna take the high road.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (in love with Mark Harmon) 03/02/2010 at 04:28 PM

Very nice article Pete. I have been saying it for weeks and months now. All Ana needs is to get back to the fundamentals of tennis. Go out there, toss the ball in the air, hit it. Done. I said it to Ana's biggest fan recently that perhaps someone just needs to take her out to a court and just tell her to play tennis. Clearly, this guy is not caught up in all the Freudian stuff that seems to go on in Ana's head. She also, IMV seems to be of the opinion that the game of tennis needs to be played a certain way. She over analyses everything. I always laugh when certain players are asked questions by commentators how do you do so and so, as in serve, return, the power etc., and they respond, well I dont know, I have been doing this for a long time and that is it. In Ana's case she either watches tapes of herself or as she says when she is not on the practice court she is thinking about what she needs to do on the practice court, then when she goes into a match, if she plays one bad shot she stands there and over analyses why she played that shot and all sorts of things start going through her head. She needs to get a coping mechanism that basically tells her to forget about a bad point and move on.

Posted by Sherlock 03/02/2010 at 04:30 PM

Pspace, he he. :)

"Anyways, view from the couch is easy...I don't play with 200K on the line for a set."

Indeed. I just played against my son over the weekend, and after a good serving hold at love, the next game, serving to stay in the set, I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. My son started calling me Sharapova. How bad is that? :)

Makes me think about Rick Ankiel, who all of the sudden couldn't throw a baseball across the plate. Or Steve Sax making a simple throw to first base. Or the original, Steve Blass, going way, way back.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (in love with Mark Harmon) 03/02/2010 at 04:30 PM

I am with Pspace on the not thinking on the tennis court part. I find that the minute I start thinking about my non existent serve and backhand is the minute I start throwing in double faults or shanking backhands. Stop thinking, just move and hit.

Posted by Mr. X (looking for gipsy she-wolves) 03/02/2010 at 04:31 PM

I really liked this one, Pete.
That's true about thinking about things you usually do in a natural way. I've tried it with breathing, and you can find yourself out of breath. Or maybe it's just that i'm THAT dumb:)
Certainly, Ana's personality doesnt seem to have anything in common with Steffi's, but the way she is looking at things sounds like the appropiate way to try to come out of a slump. Going nuts at yourself rarely works (see Safin, Marat). At least, she has the right mental disposition. That's the first step. Now, she absolutely must stop thinking about the ball toss. And it may be true. I'm just a recreational player, and i dont think i've ever thought about the way i toss the ball, i just do it, and it works.
Another good example for that un-thinking theory could be how Fed usually is considered to play better when he just plays "on instinct", that is, without really thinking too much, just acting.

Posted by Ruth 03/02/2010 at 04:33 PM

I agreed with those who felt that Ana was in need of a sports psychologist; but, perhaps, a coach with a "logical, keen, perceptive mind," like Gunthardt, is what she really needs.(Of course, I would have thought that Craig Kardon fit that description, too.)

We gonna see. :)

Posted by Mr. X (looking for gipsy she-wolves) 03/02/2010 at 04:35 PM

I'm guessing you dont exactly look like Sharapova, Sherlock:)

"If it could be done in a seemly, lady-like manner, Ivanovic would probably roll onto her back at the sight of you, exposing her tummy with her paws in the air."
Would she? REALLY? Now i truly regret not attending the Madrid tournament:)

Posted by Sherlock 03/02/2010 at 04:39 PM

LOL, Mr. X. Missed your chance. :)

Sorry, I didn't mean to make that sound so bad. I like Maria ok, it just hurt to be heckled by my son about my pathetic serving woes. :)

Posted by Sherlock 03/02/2010 at 04:43 PM

Oh, you said LOOK like. Duh. I missed the word "look". No, can't say there are many similarities between Maria and myself. And it wasn't because of the shriek on every shot. :)

Posted by Texastennis 03/02/2010 at 04:51 PM

It will be interesting with Gunthardt. His great reputation as a coach rests entirely on his years with Graf when she won I think twelve slams - but she'd won ten already before he took over... Nevtherless, I think he was a very good and very effective coach for her.

However, he did not get any traction and lasted only a few weeks with Dokic and Capriati in the ten years since Graf retired. These are the ladies he worked with recently that Ana is "more well rounded and astute" than presumably because she's definitely not more well rounded or astute than Graf. That gives me some pause about how he will get on with her.

So I don't know how this will fare. Is Ana more like Graf or more like Dokic and Capriati?

Dokic and Capriati - headcases like Ana ...

Graf - white hot burning intensity, not obviously like Ana...

But Graf was lacking confidence when Heinz took over and he seemed effective in rebuilding that (although a sounder base to rebuild on). Big forehands in common. Sports Illustrated swimsuit spreads in common...

I think it would be good for the women's game to have her back firing on all cylinders.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 03/02/2010 at 04:53 PM

Pete thanks for this post.

Yawn,yawn and more yawn.No "magic coach" can get into the head of a player when she or he is on court period.You can discuss tactics etc.At the end of the day its You and you alone that has to make these decisions on court.Also it dosent happen over night its a learning curve so to speak.

Ana's "mental ability" is her no 1 enemy.I have watched her game over the last couple of years and I come back to the same conclusion.Having won RG which is the hardest slam to win.One has to have 100% concentration and top physical game to last for 2 weeks.After that time period she has had her injuries and her game has fallen apart.Yes I have heard she could not cope with the pressure of being the no 1 player.Yadda,yadda,yadda.

She has changed coaches more than I have had baked dinners.To no avail.

I watched her game at the USO in that t/breaker she had no idea.It was sad to watch.

Now with Graf's ex coach it will be interesting to see if the current SI Model whatever can get her game back.

Posted by thebigapple 03/02/2010 at 04:55 PM

I am willing to bet that Roger will not play Indian Wells. His encouraging noises are just to help the tourney directors out. But there will be lots on show anyway even if he does not make it. It makes sense to rest a bit more for him.

Posted by Master Ace 03/02/2010 at 04:57 PM

Per homepage, Roger Federer is most likely NOT to play Indian Wells due to lung issues.

Posted by Mr. X (looking for gipsy she-wolves) 03/02/2010 at 05:12 PM

Well, if Fed doesnt feel like he is in the right condition, then not playing would be the best idea. I'm not gonna criticise this guy's decissions concerning his scheduling. He has proven lately that he knows how to handle these issues.
What will happen the All-Star Hit for Haiti, i wonder? Nobody can replace Fed's star power, i'm afraid.

Posted by greenhopper 03/02/2010 at 05:17 PM

Nole in for Fed? Nole/Pete would be amazesolutelousness.

Posted by VC 03/02/2010 at 05:19 PM

Looking at the trend of RG winners over the past 4 years, it seems Federer is determined to do everything to go in ranked as #2. :-)

Posted by Pspace (Proud Rafaelite since Shakira) 03/02/2010 at 05:23 PM

It's possible that Fed could play the exo and not play IW, right? Hit and giggle is one thing...matches are something else. And, besides, he's likely to be in training by that time, unless he's really really sick.

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 03/02/2010 at 05:25 PM

Great post Pete on a really sweet and truly nice player. Some players pretend to be nice,(that Kim) but Ana is the real deal. She should be pleased, she had match point against Kim. I'm not sure the changing coaches is the answer, she needs a serving coach more than anything. What a talented and beautiful player. Good luck to her. Go Caro, Scandinavia's#1!

Posted by Texastennis 03/02/2010 at 05:27 PM

Pspace - I think Fed might play the Haiti exo too - total hit and giggle in that doubles, even by exo standards. And he'll be moving to the US presumably around then to get ready for Miami anyway.

Posted by thebigapple 03/02/2010 at 05:35 PM

Fed may be best advised to leave the plane trip until later.

Yes, I awarded myself a medical degree. Just now.

Posted by Master Ace 03/02/2010 at 05:38 PM

Do you think Roger will play Miami where conditions are more humid than Indian Wells or will he wait until clay season(Rome per his schedule) to return?

Posted by tommy 03/02/2010 at 05:38 PM

I remember 2 years ago when Ana said she didnt know she would get to #1 at the French Open. It was in every online tennis article that I read. That was when Henin took herself off the rankings. So un-think sounds right, or un-truth. She has finalist points to defend at Indian Wells. She might be outside the top 50 in 3 weeks. Which is where she belongs based on her results. Doesnt include her giving away Fed Cup against Russia when Jankovic was heroic in her 2 wins.

Posted by thebigapple 03/02/2010 at 05:53 PM

MA, the humidity may make things easier. So maybe Miami if not IW.

The question should pivot on whether he has enough to defend in Miami to haul himself, sick Mirka and two sqaulling babes across the Atlantic. It may work for him (and his back) to stay in Europe and come back on the clay.

But let us see...I do not know the point situation, the appearance fee side, his own sense of duty or "cabin-fever" gotta get outness.

Posted by Corrie 03/02/2010 at 05:53 PM

It's not a matter of whether Roger feels up to playing, it's whether the doctors give him the green light to start practising and playing. They were giving their verdict yesterday. I think he's run out of time to prepare properly.

I don't think any coach is a magic bullet. We've seen plenty of other one slam wonders before, it's more than likely that Ana will be yet another of those than that she becomes the new Graf. Sadly, I doubt that a coach can really do more than short term improvements for her, as we saw for a while with Roddick and Connors and Gonzo and Stefanki.The novelty, and any inspiration, then wears off.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 03/02/2010 at 06:19 PM

Capriati a "headcase"?

I'll agree that, during her early 20s, she didn't get all she could have out of her talent.

But, she regrouped and came back to win three majors.

My understanding is that the reason(s) she left the tour was/were one or more shoulder injuries.

Posted by Andrew 03/02/2010 at 06:21 PM

I'll be disappointed if Federer doesn't play in Indian Wells, but not stunned.

I would guess that he planned to put in a two week training block before Dubai, and another short stint between Dubai and IW, arriving early at IW to acclimatize. If he's off the court/gym for 3 weeks, that training block is gone. It may make a lot more sense to put the time in in training and go to Miami.

Posted by Sorana, Romania's No. 1 and Scandinavia’s No. 3, Based on the Never Rescinded Viking-Romanian Treaty of 742 03/02/2010 at 06:22 PM

Sorana, Scandinavia’s No. 3, Based on the Never Rescinded Viking-Romanian Treaty of 742

Someone referring to Romania's heartthrob as a "Critea"?

Is that Swedish for "critter."

If so, that reference is mean, mean, mean.

And if Sorana is a critea, what does that make Caro, who Sorana beats and beats and beats?

Posted by ncot 03/02/2010 at 06:23 PM

try pushing the retirement envelope on ana ivanovic, peter. this is more reasonable than doing it to a player who has just won 3 titles in 3 different surfaces and in 3 different countries (in your ESPN post).

Posted by CL 03/02/2010 at 06:27 PM

Well, generally speaking, I am a champion 'un-thinker' - as many here might agree. **cough cough** But it can be really hard to un-think on the tennis court. Especially if the pressure is on. I tend to fluctuate wildly between 'think to much' and 'complete brain shut down.' I can only imagine is must be so much harder for pros where real stuff....including money and ranking and championships, etc., ...are on the line. So good luck to Ana. But, pretty please, Mr. G...use an electric shock collar if you have to ...but get her to STOP ALREADY with the fist pumps. thank you.

(Almost) News of Fed missing IW is not good for people who enjoy watching him play, worse for said people who have tickets for IW, and worst of all if it means that the infection is more serious than thought. Feh.

Posted by Mr. X (looking for gipsy she-wolves) 03/02/2010 at 06:41 PM

Right there with you in the "un-thinker" department, CL. Not only on the tennis court, generally speaking:)

Well, Fed never said that he was gonna be at IW, so if he isnt, i dont take it that the lung problem is more serious than expected, maybe just that with that specific problem, he just couldnt properly recover in time.
I dont think Fed will only go to IW for the exho. He has a family, after all, and that's a long trip, if he and/or Mirka are sick. If he is out, i agree with greenhopper, bring on the Djoker. He doesnt have the star power, but he is much more of a showman. And we know he would give Rafa and earfull about Shakira:)
If not Nole, maybe Roddick, because he's more of a star in the USA. In that case, Rafa would be really lost in there, with all the Americans. He probably wouldnt get a single joke:)

Well, time for me to leave for tonight.
See you tomorrow, everyone.

Posted by Texastennis 03/02/2010 at 06:46 PM

Manuelsantanafan - Capriati indeed left the tour because of shoulder injuries, but that's not why she split with Gundhardt which was earlier...

Posted by greenhopper 03/02/2010 at 06:48 PM

In news that not many care about,

F7 Futures, McAllen, Texas
Mario ANCIC (CRO) defeated Filip KRAJINOVIC (SRB) (4) 6-1 6-4


Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 03/02/2010 at 06:59 PM

GH Thanks for that news.Mario has always been one of my fav players.I hope he continues in the game and stays healthy.

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 03/02/2010 at 07:02 PM

I hope Ana rebounds on the court as well as she has seemlingly rebounded in life. I absolutely adore the girl, and have from the first time I saw that silly, girlish-shy fist pump.

But one thing I cannot help but ask is: does she really think that simply because tennis is the thing she does best (and the SI photographers may not fully agree), that that somehow entitles her to perform better? I fear that this is a symptom of too much success too soon. It might do her some good if Heinz Gunthardt reminded her that there are literlly hundreds if not thousands of players around the world who claim tennis as the thing they do best and who will never see their names on an ITF Challenger draw, let alone on the marquee of a Grand Slam championship.

I hope she does take stock, count her blessings, and then work her pretty little tail feathers off. because she's a delight to watch, and even more delightful to hear giggling after a victory.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 03/02/2010 at 07:11 PM

Slice I fear you have lost it lol!

Posted by Diane 03/02/2010 at 07:12 PM

Roger just upddated on Facebook that he has the green light from his Dr. to start training and hopes to be at IW.

Posted by beth ( YEAHHHH SAINTS!!!) 03/02/2010 at 07:15 PM

so looks like Fed is not coming to IW . I agree that he should put his health and that of his family first and foremost in the plan
But I am sad for many of the ladies of TW who were travelling to the desert to see him - as he is their favorite

I am relieved that it looks like Rafa will be there when it looked doubtful for a bit

I would think that having Andy Roddick in the Hit For Haiti would be a bigger draw in IW than Nole
still , I think it is hard to predict who will be there in Federer's place - a lot will probably depend on the draw , and who is scheduled to play on Saturday .

Posted by beth ( YEAHHHH SAINTS!!!) 03/02/2010 at 07:16 PM

ok ,Diane
then you can all just ignore my post :)

and I know this news will make Jackie , jb and Tari - among others very happy

Posted by Tim (Year of Aussie Rogie ) 03/02/2010 at 07:16 PM

geez... Pete who are your sources? Aussie Rogie on Facebook 4 mins ago says...

Roger Federer I am feeling really good again and I was happy to hear from my doctor today that I have the green light to start working out again so I plan to try and play in Indian Wells next week. Thanks for the well wishes.

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 03/02/2010 at 07:16 PM

You may be right, aussiemarg, I may be crazy. But it just might be a lunatic you're looking for. (With special credit to Billy Joel)

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 03/02/2010 at 07:18 PM

Slice You just confirmed my earlier post.LOL!!

Posted by Pspace (Proud Rafaelite since Shakira) 03/02/2010 at 07:18 PM

Slice, do you really think that's something to tell a former GS champ? That they may not be as good as they think they are? Ana thinks that she's a pretty good player when she's in form. Too much humility may not work for some1 not named Nadal.

Anyways, if indeed she's not as good as she thinks she is, reality will set in at some point

Posted by just a note 03/02/2010 at 07:19 PM

Roger's Facebook page says Dr. gave "green light" and he's going to try and play at IW.

Posted by Pspace (Proud Rafaelite since Shakira) 03/02/2010 at 07:20 PM

Well, perhaps it's Mirka that won't make IW ;-). In which case, Roger is toast.

Posted by just a note 03/02/2010 at 07:20 PM

I should have refreshed this page before I posted. ;)) Good news though.

Posted by beth ( YEAHHHH SAINTS!!!) 03/02/2010 at 07:22 PM

considering my dismal league record of late - thank goodness tennis is not the thing I do best
otherwise , I would be in serious trouble - and in need of antidepressants

Posted by Diane 03/02/2010 at 07:24 PM

I won't be at IW this year; we are taking a break after the Australian Open. Both of us are still tired from that trip!
I hate to miss Roger live but if he plays I'll catch it on TV.
We are planning to go to the US Open this year with my daughter and son in law....can only happen if her mother in law will take our precious Olivia for a few days. Last year we met my son who lives in LA at IW so it's fun to combine family and tennis.

Posted by beth ( YEAHHHH SAINTS!!!) 03/02/2010 at 07:24 PM

poor Mirka
hard to be sick and take care of children/ babies

mommies do not get sick days
( even if you have a nanny or two )

Posted by beth ( YEAHHHH SAINTS!!!) 03/02/2010 at 07:26 PM

sorry you will not be joining our merry group , Diane
maybe next year

wonder if the security guards will be called to squelch our fun again ?

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 03/02/2010 at 07:30 PM

Rogers going to "try" to play at IW

Rest up Roger its not worth it.

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 03/02/2010 at 07:31 PM


I guess I didn't make myself very clear. No problem. What I meant was that she's really got nothing to be troubled about. Sure, she wants to be Number 1, as does every other player on the planet. Yes, she has a reasonalbe (or perhaps a plausible) shot at getting there again, but even if she doesn't, she's enjoying riches that few other athletes ever vwill and she's stil playing the ganme she loves. In other words, get real and enjoy yourself, because this too shall pass.

Hmmm... I'm still not making myself very clear, am I.

Posted by Diane 03/02/2010 at 07:32 PM

Beth, sounds like too much fun; hate to miss the party!
I have my first league match tomorrow morning and have not played much all winter so I expect that it won't be pretty. My partner is a great player but her husband got a job transfer to NYC and she has spent the last few months up there and hasn't played much until our practice and lesson on Mon. Should be funny!!!!

Posted by beth ( YEAHHHH SAINTS!!!) 03/02/2010 at 07:33 PM

I don't know ,AM - I do not see the harm in trying
He is basically leaving one desert for another
and if playing a match or two will get him into shape , it should not be that bad
He is not going against doctor's orders - I am glad he is going

will keep the crowds out at his practice courts - so I can see some of the action on outer courts up close

Posted by greenhopper 03/02/2010 at 07:35 PM

Ancic/Tsonga vs Melo/Sa was supposed to happen at IW last year. I was there. Didn't see Mario even in practice courts all weekend, then heard he showed up for singles against Ljubicic for like 6 games and left the court sick, minutes before I got there. And withdrew from doubles. Très painful.

Posted by beth ( YEAHHHH SAINTS!!!) 03/02/2010 at 07:36 PM

Diane - our league started 3 weeks ago - we had 2 matches and a bye

The bye was my best result :)
Lost both my matches 7-5 in the deciding set

This week , I am playing with a new partner - as we have had to mix up things in the lineup due to injury and illness
we gonna see?
our practice match on Monday went splendidly - so who knows ? This new partnership may hold great promise
Together we beat a crafty player who I have never so much as taken a set from
I was very happy !

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 03/02/2010 at 07:36 PM

Beth Well knot knowing the extent of the lung infection.I suppose at the end of the day it comes down to the player.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 03/02/2010 at 07:38 PM

GH I think in Mario's case it will be a case of him always listenting to his body.These recurring bouts of CFS takes a big toll on the immune system.

Posted by beth ( YEAHHHH SAINTS!!!) 03/02/2010 at 07:39 PM

AM - true - but if the doctor says he can go , I am gonna assume the doctor knows what is going on here

I still wonder about the term " lung infection "
Is this a non scary way to say that Roger Federer has pneumonia ?
I mean if he had bronchitis - then say bronchitis - If he had the flu , then call it the flu
What is with this one ? And if it is in the lungs is it all encompassing or just in one lobe ?
I mean a lung infection can be a lot of different things

Posted by Christopher 03/02/2010 at 07:40 PM

(As someone may have noted already) for what it's worth, Federer has just said on Facebook that he has the OK from his doctor and is planning to play IW.

Posted by Curtis 03/02/2010 at 07:40 PM

I dont comment here much, but I just wanted to say, great article on Ana Pete. :) It's so painful watching her struggle the way she has these past 20 months, but I will always admire her sunny optimism. While many will say she seems delusional (I myself at times), nobody can never question the girl's sincerity. Listening to her presser yesterday and reading this article should make anybody fall in love with this girl. There is absolutely nothing to hate about her. Hope things work out with her new coach and she can get her game back together again. When Ana is winning and smilling on the court too, it's great for the game of tennis.

Posted by Diane 03/02/2010 at 07:44 PM

Beth, losing 5-7 in a deciding set is a good didn't win but you were very close.
Remember, we are just amateur players trying to have fun; my team has been together for years so it's a social as well as a competitive outlet. We always go to lunch after our matches and it's a day out of the house with friends.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 03/02/2010 at 07:45 PM

Beth Very true a "lung infection" can mean many things.Though I suppose if it was say the flu,bronchitis it would have been reported as such.

Posted by Pspace (Proud Rafaelite since Shakira) 03/02/2010 at 07:47 PM

Slice, I sorta get what you're saying. It's a fine line to walk between being insecure, humble, confident, and entitled. I guess I didn't read Ana's remarks as sounding entitled to win.

Posted by beth ( YEAHHHH SAINTS!!!) 03/02/2010 at 07:48 PM

Diane - thanks for the encouragement
And yes, I was pleased with my level of play - I would have been more pleased had I won the match , however :)

I was most happy that I did not play tentatively , but went for my shots and tried to win. Sometimes , when it gets close and tight - I have been known to play it too safe - and wind up both losing and frustrated, because I had chances that I did not take

We always have lunch with our matches , too - the leagues sound pretty similar

Posted by beth ( YEAHHHH SAINTS!!!) 03/02/2010 at 07:53 PM

AM - I just wish I knew more about what is going on with his lungs

I am gonna go out on a medical limb here and say this is probably a pleural lining infection treated with antibiotics . Seems to me that would clear up a whole lot quicker ( and with less lasting fatigue and side effects ) than a true pneumonia .
The initial pain would have mimicked a rib injury - so maybe that is what he thought it was and the diagnosis was made .

But - I am just guessing - and at this point , it does not really matter

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 03/02/2010 at 07:54 PM

Hi folks. So it looks like Fed will probably be in IW? I hope so for all his fans. Has he ever travelled without Mirka? I'm gathering the news is that she's sick too. these things usually make their way through the family...

Liked the article on Ana. She's sweet and I wish her the best with her new coach.

I came across this parody of the shakal video. ;)

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 03/02/2010 at 07:59 PM

Beth When are you leaving for IW and how long are you staying.Also what hotel do you stay out.My travel agent gave me a brochure on the different hotels there.

Posted by beth ( YEAHHHH SAINTS!!!) 03/02/2010 at 08:00 PM

thinking about the massive crowds of Swiss flag wearing fans that Federer attracts
I wonder who all those folks would have gone to see , had Fed not been able to make the trip

Posted by beth ( YEAHHHH SAINTS!!!) 03/02/2010 at 08:03 PM

AM - I am leaving on Thursday , the 11th and staying for a week
I have always stayed at the Esmeralda
Started out there because I got a good deal using credit card points
and have always returned
It is a beautiful resort - great pool , spa , exercise room
and well. so many of the players stay there
and there is the wonderful shuttle bus to and from the tennis venue

Missie would die if we were not there so she could see Richard , as that is where the french players stay when they are in town .

Posted by beth ( YEAHHHH SAINTS!!!) 03/02/2010 at 08:06 PM

JB and Tari stayed at the Hyatt last year - so they would be able to tell you about that one

The whole of IW is full of hotels , though - so there are many places to choose from

Posted by mina (meanie and proud of it) 03/02/2010 at 08:07 PM

Fed going to IW without Mirka? omg. what has this world come to??? :) seriously though, i hope she gets well soon, there's nothing like watching Fed beat the crap out of opponents with Mirka Blackberrying on the sidelines. mind, i like Mirka more than i do Fed... most days. LOL

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 03/02/2010 at 08:08 PM

Beth Well you cant have Missie upset lol!

I have that on my brochure.I have been contacted to register for the AO for 2011 already.Goodness me.

Posted by beth ( YEAHHHH SAINTS!!!) 03/02/2010 at 08:11 PM

AM - no - heaven forbid we should upset the princess :)

it is amazing how early they contact you to purchase tickets for these events
I think I got the call from IW back in July or August

and the LA event sends me emails almost as soon as the event is over - to purchase for next year

Posted by Texastennis 03/02/2010 at 08:15 PM

So Mr Bodo's reliable source turns out to be very unreliable!

Posted by MC 03/02/2010 at 08:17 PM

I agree with AussieMarge -- "it's not worth it" -- but I can understand Fed's fans having tickets to IW feeling differently. And yes, a bit odd that Pete B's "reliable sources" would be contradicted so quickly on Facebook. Guess we'll see. I just fear an '08 scenario all over again, and would put rest and traning above these last two HC events. And yes, agree with others that either Roddick or Nole would be a fine replacement in the exo. Heck, maybe ask both. Have Nole act as a rotating substitute for the other four players, but when Roddick asks Nole to spell him, Nole could delay the substitution by claiming an injury timeout, and Roddick can something snarky, and then Nole can take the microphone and address the crowd about what Andy said, and the crowd can fake boo, etc, etc.

Ivanovic? Hmmmm ... who knows the answer. But I do agree with others that these famous coach hires aren't always the bag of chips they initially appear. There's usually a levelling off after the initial rush of good tidings. But hey, even the momentary buzz from the latter would be an improvement. So as usual, I don't know what the H I'm talking about.

Posted by sod'sfriend 03/02/2010 at 08:28 PM

to borrow AM's favorite phrase...

"me likey" ana ivanovic's stance in the above photo - woohoo, best view ever down under!

sorry...oops ...i didnt mean to observe that!

Posted by Codge 03/02/2010 at 08:29 PM

Why so fast to jump all over Bodo? (i don't see why RF withdrawing from IW is a scoop to begin with...)

Operative word in Fed's statement is TRY.

IW wants him to play and even if he knows he'll give himself more time to recover, makes sense to withdraw closer to the start of the tourney so he can say he gave it the old college try.

Plus IW can still promote his potential participation all week...

Posted by CL 03/02/2010 at 08:32 PM

Yup, reliable sources can indeed be somewhat unreliable. However there is still a lot of wiggle room in what Fed posted...."I plan to try..." Yoda would not approve; 'There is no try...only DO!" It remains to be seen what Fed actually DOES.

I agree that if Fed doesn't make the hit for Haiti, then either The Djoker or Randy or both would be terrific in that role.

Posted by kjo 03/02/2010 at 08:37 PM

I think you guys can relax about Mirka - a swiss journo saw Rog, Mirka and some friends out to dinner a couple nights ago. So seems like she's fine.
That's when Roger told him that while he feels fine, he will get medical tests done on tuesday to make sure the infection was gone. Which he did today; hence the "green light."

I'm also a bit concerned w/ his have so little time to practice/build up his fitness again before playing tourneys, but I'm sure he's restless and wanting to jump back into the swing of things asap.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 03/02/2010 at 08:39 PM

MC: that's a funny idea for nole and roddick for IW. are you a comedy writer perhaps?

Does fed's facebook say whether or not he's started playing again? Beth, would you know
what day the players usually arrive? I'm just wondering if he'll have time to prepare.

So, AM, are you still thinking about coming to IW?

Posted by Pspace (Proud Rafaelite since Shakira) 03/02/2010 at 08:39 PM

Even if Federer is not playing, it's prolly not a good idea to release that information so far in advance of the tournament. It may lead to several ppl cancelling their plans. And, while a later announcement might be more disappointing, I think ppl would make the trip and then enjoy other players any way.

Posted by Pspace (Proud Rafaelite since Shakira) 03/02/2010 at 08:42 PM

Ummm...that would be from the tournament's perspective. Pete Bodo is, of course, obliged to release such information.

Anyways, as for Mirka not attending, I prolly started that. I keed. I keed.

Posted by kjo 03/02/2010 at 08:44 PM

I think Rog said "try" because tomorrow is first time he'll work out / practice at all since he got sick. He can't know yet how he'll feel once he hits the practice court.

Beth, your diagnosis sounds good. He did mention he felt pain in his ribs when he first got sick.

Posted by Tigress 03/02/2010 at 08:44 PM

Listened to today's podcast and our esteemed leader's 'scoop' on Fed being out of IW, which apparently has already been discredited. We shall see. Sorry to say this as a member of the Twibe, but the only thing that gave me hope when i heard it was that it was Mr. Bodo who was saying it, and Tignor and Martin had nothing to say about this so-called 'news'. And did i detect a certain amount of unsavory glee in Pete's voice when he announced it, without giving amy specificity or corroborative detail? Had he made a similar announcement about Rafa not playing, his tone no doubt would have conveyed the sound of funeral dirges and wailing bagpipes.

Well, in any case i really hope that Mr. Bodo's reporting is in error, and just typical media misinformation. Hoping fervantly that Roger will: 1. Be physically well, and 2. Play IW and win a record-tying 17th Masters shield trophy.

Posted by Ruth 03/02/2010 at 08:45 PM

I'm with Codge on this one, and I'll wait until I see if Roger does appear and play in IW before deciding that anyone's sources were unreliable.

Posted by MC 03/02/2010 at 08:45 PM

"MC: that's a funny idea for nole and roddick for IW. are you a comedy writer perhaps?"

Not intentionally; unintentionally ....

Anyway, just seemed too obvious of a sketch when the names Roddick and Djokovic popped up.

Posted by london 03/02/2010 at 08:46 PM

jankovic is currently stankin up the court. had a 4-1 lead and now its 4-4. she is really strugglin...

Posted by Jenni 03/02/2010 at 08:48 PM

LOL Aussiemarg, I love your yawns and yaddas. And ditto to your posts.

How did I not know Mario was in my neck of the woods! Not that I actually know where McAllen is, but if he's there I'm gonna find out.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 03/02/2010 at 08:48 PM

Annie No.Not this year.I am looking at RG at the moment.Though the prices have gone up since last I was there.The return a/fare alone is high.Though my cousin is renting a apartment there for 2 weeks when RG is on.Still a lot of money for 2 weeks.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 03/02/2010 at 08:49 PM

MC, well it's not beneath nole to show up in drag. He did it at last year's Monte Carlo
talent night. I just hope he doesn't try to pull off a shakira impersonation. ;)

Posted by Louisiana Man 03/02/2010 at 08:50 PM

Beth, Did you play at L.S.U. and if so when? Born and raised in La. so just curious because I have a sister who played at L.S.U.

Posted by london 03/02/2010 at 08:51 PM

and now jankovic just got broken by sevastova. sevastova to serve for the first set. jakovic is pathetic.

Posted by MC 03/02/2010 at 08:55 PM

Yes, I'm sure Rafa will take some ribbing regarding his recent star turn. Problem is, I never thought Sampras or Agassi were a barrel full of monkeys, so yeah, the exo could use a Roddick or Novak.

Posted by Master Ace 03/02/2010 at 08:55 PM

Sevastova serving for the set at 5-4 against Jankovic

Sevastova has won the last 4 games

15-0 Jankovic FH return wide
30-0 Jankovic FH return long
30-15 Sevastova BH wide
30-30 Sevastova FH long
40-30 Jankovic nets BH after getting to winner after winner and throwing up defensive lobs
40-40 Sevastova BH long
40-A Jankovic FH passing shot winner as Sevastova came to net on BH approach
Jankovic breaks as Sevastova BH sails wide

Jankovic to serve 5-all

Posted by mina (meanie and proud of it) 03/02/2010 at 08:55 PM

JJ broke back. 5 all

Posted by london 03/02/2010 at 08:56 PM

and jankovic breaks back after some good backhands to save set point.

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