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More from Mac 06/17/2010 - 6:00 PM

Cover.HardcourtConfidential Today, Pat McEnroe, U.S. Davis Cup captain, ESPN color commentator, and author of Hardcourt Confidential (with an assist from yours truly) is going to share some of his thoughts and experiences in that Inner Sanctum, the ATP locker room. This passage is preceded by a lengthy one on Jimmy Connors (if you remember, Connors' storied run in 1991 began with a remarkable comeback win over Patrick), which is why the material below begins with him. 

-- Pete


Jimmy was adept at mind games. He was so keen to keep himself distant from the pack that he would often avoid the locker room altogether, changing and killing time conspicuously apart from his peers. Top players often have what you might call a “locker room strategy,” from aggressively dominating the inner sanctum of the athlete to avoiding it altogether. One of my brother John’s big beefs was that tennis is the only sport where you share the locker room with not just the guy you’re going to engage in intense, one- on- onecombat, but also with someone to whom you might have a deep,genuine aversion. I guess golf is the same way— but then it’s a stretch to call golf a sport.

John disliked Ivan Lendl, and you could feel the tension when they had to inhabit the same locker room. Granted, John liked to strut around, scowling, his body language demanding that you give him wide berth. That could be intimidating. But he didn’t engage guys in the same way as Lendl, who actually talked trash and needled people— sometimes mercilessly. When John Fitzgerald (who was actually a friend of Lendl’s) came into the Australian Open locker room shortly after having his first child, a daughter, Lendl said in his mechanical, clipped Eastern European accent: “Congratulations, John. Maybe next time you vill be man enough to make a son.”

In conclusive proof that there is a God, Lendl ended up having five children of his own— all lovely daughters.

I watched as Brad Gilbert and Ivan Lendl almost came to blows in the locker room in Tokyo one year. Now a lot of guys found Brad’s endless prattling (usually about sports) irritating. But even more glowered at the way Ivan Lendl was constantly razzing and putting others down.

Somehow, the two of them got started on a game of one- upmanship. Brad suggested that he would clean Ivan’s clock in a game of one-on-one basketball. Not to be outdone, Lendl said he could skate rings around Brad in a hockey rink.

“Oh, yeah,” Brad shot back, sticking out that Sgt. Rock jaw of his, “You want a piece of me in a batting cage?”

I could hardly believe my ears, these guys were taking it to another level, like a couple of kids in the schoolyard, until some other players intervened to talk both guys off the ledge before it came to fisticuffs. It was idiotic; clearly, it had nothing to do with either guys’s skill at bowling or beer pong. They just had their backs up and neither was going to back down.

102161069 Wimbledon has two locker rooms, a spacious, well- appointed one for seeded players, and a more bare bones one for everyone else.Yet, Andy Roddick, a three-time finalist at the event, insists on hanging out in the B locker room, so he can be with buddies like Sam Querrey, the Bryan Brothers, Mardy Fish, and James Blake. He just feels more comfortable in there.

Of course, you can’t have individual locker rooms for all 128 players at a major. But at those events, as well as smaller ones, the locker room during the early stages of an event is like a cross between a crowded train station at rush hour and a class reunion. The camaraderie level is high. When whoever won the last tournament walks in, almost everyone slaps him on the back or drops by in front of his locker to say “Well done.”

Friends who haven’t seen each other in weeks say hi and catch up when they meet. At the 2009 US Open, Roger Federer watched the scoreboard as Marsel Ilhan, the first Turkish player (although he’s originally from Uzbekistan) to compete at an Open-era major, won his first- round match. Later, Federer went up to Ilhan in the locker room to congratulate the young player and introduce himself. The journeyman couldn’t believe it.

Carl, the locker room attendant at the US Open, doles out the assignments at the start of the tournament. Over time, he knows which guys like to be near each other, and he generally groups them by nations. It works out well, although the tone in the temple of Ben- Gay changes dramatically later in the event. When it’s down to the finals, the atmosphere in the locker room is almost oppressive.

You’ve got one guy huddled with his team in one corner, his opponent and friends in the other. The tones are hushed. You can almost cut the tension with a knife. It wouldn’t be such a bad idea for tournaments to give the finalists different spaces on that last, critical day. Roger Federer is probably the most relaxed guy I’ve ever seen in the locker room; he’s nothing less than a prince— it’s like he owns the place, but in a good way, like the proud proprietor of a Swiss fondue restaurant.

Rafael Nadal, as nice a kid and good a sportsman as he is, gets into the mind games a bit, wittingly or not. He makes his opponents wait on him, not just between points (for which he gets criticized) but in the locker room and on the sidelines as well. When the tournament officials call Nadal’s match, he goes to take another piss, making his opponent stand there, waiting. When the umpire calls them out to the center of the court for the coin toss, Rafa will often stay in his chair, fiddling with towels or his bottles while the other guy walks right out— and has to wait.

I can understand how Toni Nadal, Rafa’s coach and uncle, tried to drill it into the young, impressionable eighteen- year old of a few years ago that it was important for him to take his time, not feel rushed or obligated to do anything until he was comfortable and well- organized. But you have to grow out of that.

Rafa’s foot- dragging was behind that bad- blood incident at Wimbledon between Rafa and the Swedish player Robin Soderling. Ticked off by the way Rafa had the habit of making an opponent wait, Soderling did some conspicuous stalling of his own, and he even mimicked Rafa’s compulsive habit of plucking at the back of his shorts. It wasn’t a smart thing for Soderling to do, and it didn’t make his life any easier— Rafa is genuinely liked and respected by everyone. Soderling ultimately was cast as a boorish gamesman, but many players felt that his was a point worth making, if not exactly in the way Robin chose.


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Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 06/18/2010 at 01:32 AM

Hi rg. :)

Am really sad the sweet-faced Ivo is out of Wimbledon. :( I think Stepanek is out of the DC tie, as well.

Posted by NP 06/18/2010 at 01:34 AM

And as we chat a few village idiots are now celebrating with arson in LA.

sf, frankly Kobe will need one hell of a final series to get even close to MJ on the GOAT ladder. That's why I'm still a tad bummed about these finals. Kobe was hit-and-miss throughout. Not exactly a legend-making series.

Posted by sod'sfriend ( ron artest get his nba ring ! yay ! ) 06/18/2010 at 01:36 AM

zenggi!

yes, such a happy night here for lakers fans!

my doctor was actually teasing me since he knew i sprained the ankle playing tennis.

the celtics were game, though, and almost won it. so it was a tough, rough one, but so sweet to come through - and yes, it bears semblance to federer's win (the 15th more so because of how randy stretched him, down to the wire).

Posted by rg.nadal 06/18/2010 at 01:37 AM

jewell: Hi. Nalby too. He said that between David Cup and W, he would choose the former...

Posted by zenggi 06/18/2010 at 01:37 AM

And I forgot AM as a special fan of the Lakers, congratulations, lady!

Did Pau played well?

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Oh My its Pimms Time Again 06/18/2010 at 01:39 AM

Jewell Hey Mac said of Rafa in 08 when he won not dropping a set he is the Greatest Clay Court player I have seen.Gee Mac played Borg remember? I think Mac has always admired Rafa

Hola RG

You will be glad to know Almagro started training so that injury of his hip not that bad.

I guess you want me selections for Wimby

Ahhhhh do I have to?

Posted by NP 06/18/2010 at 01:39 AM

"kobe even acts like mj many times - the way he talks, that tongue licking the lips back and forth, it's oh so mj!"

sf, that's why Kobe will never surpass MJ. :)

zenggi, the Celtics have 17.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 06/18/2010 at 01:39 AM

Watched Mexico vs France last night and was pleased that Mexico came through - liked watching Marquez in midfield and am happy that Hernandez (future Manchester United player, I think) and the 31-year-old Blanco scored the goals.

France were shockingly bad, though. Surprised that Domenech didn't even use a third substitute and that say Thierry Henry didn't appear to be clamouring to get on the field.

Morning, zenggi. :)

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Oh My its Pimms Time Again 06/18/2010 at 01:40 AM

Good Morning Zengii

Pau had his moments I did at one stage advise him to get off court and get a New Brain

He played better in the 2nd half though

He had wanted to lol!

Posted by NP 06/18/2010 at 01:42 AM

rg, are you sure the Worm is out?

Posted by sod'sfriend ( ron artest get his nba ring ! yay ! ) 06/18/2010 at 01:43 AM

np,

mj is mj, no question. and kobe is not at his level yet. for starters, he has to earn that 6th ring. if he plays lights out winning it (and maybe even topping it), then certainly he'd be challenging mj for the goathood.

Posted by zenggi 06/18/2010 at 01:43 AM

NP,
And how does that make you feel? Does it mean that Celtics are the GOATS? :)

jewell,
I hope Mr. X feels better now after France non-performance :)

sodfriends,
A teasing doctor?. You must cherish him. So unusual.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 06/18/2010 at 01:44 AM

Oh yes - it's draw day, isn't it? Looking forward to the cupcake/victimisation stuff.

Posted by zenggi 06/18/2010 at 01:45 AM

Thanks, AM, for the information.

Totally OT. Does anybody know why I cannot open my Outlook today. I've started twice the computer and NOTHING!

Posted by sod'sfriend ( ron artest get his nba ring ! yay ! ) 06/18/2010 at 01:48 AM

zenggi,
my doctor is super. (as well as this specialist he referred me to see for my ankle problem.) decent folk, esp. my doc.

np,
lol re: why kobe can't be mj.

Posted by zenggi 06/18/2010 at 01:48 AM

jewell,
It's going to be a long day at TW with the draw.:) In three hours and change I believe.
10 am UK time.

Posted by imjimmy 06/18/2010 at 01:50 AM

Man..what a poor performance by France today! I mean leaving proven goalscorers on the bench when they're 2-0 down and heading out of the tournament?

WTF? Did they even care? Most players looked like they would rather be anywhere else than competing here in the World Cup.

I thought the BBC had it best:

" the team that needed a helping hand to get to the World Cup now need a helping hand to stay in it ""

I'm almost tempted to say, good riddance..

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Oh My its Pimms Time Again 06/18/2010 at 01:50 AM

Jewell Get with it

No Cup Cake draw we are at Wimby please

Scones with Jam and Cream all the way if you please

Okay I can handle the "victim" thingy I suppose.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Oh My its Pimms Time Again 06/18/2010 at 01:51 AM

imjimmy Hi,I agree that performance by France sucked

Posted by sod'sfriend ( ron artest get his nba ring ! yay ! ) 06/18/2010 at 01:52 AM

zenggi,
can't open outlook at all (progam hungs with hourglass running), or just can't get your mail?

Posted by rg.nadal 06/18/2010 at 01:52 AM

NP: Bonjour! oui oui. I am.
"The other withdrawals came as something of a surprise. Radek Stepanek, who has been sidelined with illness, suffered a last-minute knee injury. "I had cleared all tests on Monday morning without a single problem and had planned to fly out on Tuesday for Wimbledon preparations," Reuters quotes Stepanek as telling Czech television. "I just wanted to try out a racket and this happened.""

AM: hola there. Good to know that. I did not hip injuries could heel so fast. Hope he ain't rushing.

zenggi: Hi

Posted by NP 06/18/2010 at 01:52 AM

sf, IMO Kobe will have to get his 7th until he can seriously challenge MJ, and I'd probably still put MJ ahead. His Airness really had the total package.

zenggi, no, they got most of their rings during a weak era, when Cousy, Russell, Havlicek and their henchmen were sowing destruction over the entire league.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Oh My its Pimms Time Again 06/18/2010 at 01:53 AM

zengii Would you believe I had the same trouble yesterday and could not get my emails up at all for hours

Strange?

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 06/18/2010 at 01:54 AM

Ribéry and Malouda seemed to be working hard, although not to much effect.

Posted by imjimmy 06/18/2010 at 01:54 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZxvYy5-ekI

Just saw this and had to absolutely share. I guess this is why everyone harps about the 1982 Brazilian team. A great team playing the beautiful game! Awesome :)

Posted by NP 06/18/2010 at 01:55 AM

sf, I was being half serious.... :)

imjimmy, France really was pathetic yesterday. Were they even strong contenders to begin with?

rg, howdy back at ya. And thx for the confirmation.

Posted by zenggi 06/18/2010 at 01:55 AM

sod'sfriend,
Cannot Open at all. A message appears that it cannot be started. Very strange!

AM,
Sisters in trouble!

NP,
I knew you would find an excuse for this one too :)

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Oh My its Pimms Time Again 06/18/2010 at 01:56 AM

I think poor Worm has CFS and Lira Vega was saying the other day he had a stomach illness and had to go for more blood tests.

Being a fellow sufferer I too have to have blood tests to make sure all my levels are up and also remember once you have had Mono it lies dormat in your system.You must always be aware of that.It also can come back at any time.

Posted by sod'sfriend ( ron artest get his nba ring ! yay ! ) 06/18/2010 at 01:56 AM

"" the team that needed a helping hand to get to the World Cup now need a helping hand to stay in it ""

very apropos.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 06/18/2010 at 01:57 AM

AARGH. Really can't see England doing well if they keep coming out with this sort of rubbish:

"Green's training session here was less than convincing, with the 30-year-old fumbling consecutive shots fired at him at pace, but Capello declared for the first time that he believes the Adidas Jabulani ball was to blame for Green's costly fumble against the Americans and seemed to say that Green should therefore be exonerated for his error. "I saw some keepers make mistakes and it's a problem with the ball," Capello said. "One problem [for] the keepers is that sometimes the bounce is higher than normal. For this reason, I have to justify the keeper."

Posted by NP 06/18/2010 at 01:59 AM

zenggi, anytime.

Posted by zenggi 06/18/2010 at 01:59 AM

Hola rg and imjimmy,

And to my and my fellow countrymen and women, Jesse Huta Galung has to play one last match to qualify for Wimbledon. 3 victories in a row. Well done, Jesse!

Posted by imjimmy 06/18/2010 at 01:59 AM

Hi AM and NP!

NP: France have been pathetic for some time. They had this absolutely abysmal performance in Euro 2008 where they were eliminated in the first round of that tournament as well, IIRC - scores were 0-0 with Romania, 2-0 loss to Italy,
AND the MOST DRAMATIC 1-4 loss to the Dutch!

I mean those sort of scorelines for a great footballing nation like France, are totally unacceptable. So you're right, it's not a surprise.

But I would SERIOUSLY like to know why Domenech is STILL in charge. That dude picked the WORST possible squad for the World cup.

Posted by zenggi 06/18/2010 at 02:01 AM

NP,
Use your CB to help me open the Outlook problem, please. "Anytime" is not good enough.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 06/18/2010 at 02:01 AM

I dunno that many people had France as serious contenders after 2008, but the manner of the team so far has been just dire especially considering the quality of the individual players. Wonder if there are some rifts in the team, too. Domenech's demeanour struck me as odd really.

Posted by sod'sfriend ( ron artest get his nba ring ! yay ! ) 06/18/2010 at 02:01 AM

zenggi,
if you're on a corporate network, you may certainly have to call for help.

if it's your personal computer, i suggest you run a security software asap before you attempt any re-install. avg is a very good free one (i used it before, but not anymore. others here use it even now).

after a thorough scan, if it still won't run, try re-installing it.

and good luck!

Posted by imjimmy 06/18/2010 at 02:04 AM

Hey Zenggi! Did you try opening Outlook in safe Mode or by executing the executable file directly? Which version of MS office are you using?

Back to Tennis. I've been out of touch since the F.O. When is the Wimb. draw coming out? Is Nadal injured again - I read something about withdrawal at Queens?

Posted by sod'sfriend ( ron artest get his nba ring ! yay ! ) 06/18/2010 at 02:05 AM

well, folks, it's very late here, and work calls early in the am, so i better turn in.

zenggi,
i'll check on you later, ok? ')

good luck and good night!

Posted by zenggi 06/18/2010 at 02:05 AM

Thanks, sod'sfriend.
It's my personal computer and I have ESET antivirus. It runs automatically twice a day.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Oh My its Pimms Time Again 06/18/2010 at 02:06 AM

Well us Aussies have another player withdraw through injury

Our game with Ghana Ahhhhhhhhhhhh

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Oh My its Pimms Time Again 06/18/2010 at 02:07 AM

Good Night Sods Friend

Yay Lakers!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by rg.nadal 06/18/2010 at 02:07 AM

NP: Welcome!

Poor France. They seemed so slow on the field. Compared to the Germans, there was zero explosiveness out there!

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Oh My its Pimms Time Again 06/18/2010 at 02:08 AM

imjimmy No Rafa isnt injured he had a slight Glute problem,I think the adjustment from the clay to grass and also it was slippery.Any player can have that happen.Reading reports he is fine and had his 1st training session on Wednesday.

Posted by NP 06/18/2010 at 02:08 AM

imjimmy, I miss Zidane. Messi and Ronaldo have nothing on Zizou.

zenggi, the more important Q is, why you still using the primitive Outlook?

Posted by zenggi 06/18/2010 at 02:08 AM

imjimmy,
I tried executing the executable file directly. I have Vista. I'll try to open it in safe Mode. Thanks.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 06/18/2010 at 02:10 AM

I think the Wimbledon draw will be made at 10am British time, imjimmy.

Posted by zenggi 06/18/2010 at 02:12 AM

NP,
I have also windows-mail but I need to use Outlook for the e-mails coming from Spain. Too many accounts for the cable company. The same company who provides phone and TV connection. All-in-one company. Let's say monopoly.

Posted by NP 06/18/2010 at 02:13 AM

The Spanish media are quick:

http://www.elpais.com/global/
http://www.elmundo.es/

Posted by sod'sfriend ( ron artest get his nba ring ! yay ! ) 06/18/2010 at 02:15 AM

ps: zenggi, your problem may be more than virus (so run a program that does more than a virus scan).

also, you may want to defrag your hardrive if you never did.

start-->all programs-->accessories-->system tools-->disk defragmenter.

take care. now i'm gone for real.

pps: am, your socceroos lost another player? you need to increase your voodoo dolls and pins for your next match - lol!

btw, go usa! (against slovenia tomorrow)

Posted by NP 06/18/2010 at 02:16 AM

zenggi, gotcha. Unfortunately I hardly ever use Outlook. Not the best person to ask.

Posted by zenggi 06/18/2010 at 02:17 AM

Bye, sod'sfriend.

A tweet from a Belgian tennisjournalist:
www.twitter.com/MyTennisFilip Almagro 12 hours ago rolled out on a stretcher from cc Eastbourne. Now practicing as we speak. Quite an injury!

Posted by imjimmy 06/18/2010 at 02:20 AM

True that NP. Zizou's among the truly great footballers of all time.

Jewell: Thanks for the info.

That makes it 2 AM PST, I guess. The draw could be crucial. Who wants to face Isner or Querry in Round 3/Round 4? On grass all big servers become a factor.

AM: Good to know Nadal is ok. Dude's already lost a year in slam worth because of injury. How did he look in Queens?

""why you still using the primitive Outlook? ""

NP: Huh? What is better than Outlook 2010 ( or 2007)? There isn't much choice to handle mails from exchange servers anyway.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Oh My its Pimms Time Again 06/18/2010 at 02:21 AM

Zengii Almagro has always been a bit of a Drama Queen to me

Posted by NP 06/18/2010 at 02:23 AM

"I dunno that many people had France as serious contenders after 2008, but the manner of the team so far has been just dire especially considering the quality of the individual players."

Translation: I have no idea what I'm talking about and am just spitting out what I've been fed by the media.

Posted by zenggi 06/18/2010 at 02:24 AM

Hear, hear, imjimmy :)

NP,
The Spanish sports papers are better (for the last sport news). :)

http://www.marca.com/
http://www.as.com/

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Oh My its Pimms Time Again 06/18/2010 at 02:25 AM

imjimmy Well to me ok,his f.hand was good,just needs a bit more adjustment on the serve,b/hand and movement.I think the rainy conditions didnt help any players with their movement.

He also stated he was quite happy even though he lost in the q/finals,he knows he has to make better adjustment with the serve,b/hand,movement though he was pleased and said that his f/hand was good.

He also stated that if he felt he didnt improve with the practice he could always play that expo to get a little more practice in.

Posted by rg.nadal 06/18/2010 at 02:25 AM

imjimmy: Hey there. We use Yahoo Zimbra at office. Quite good.

Desired results for today: Eng over Alg, Germany over Serb and US over Slovenia.

Think it would be a petkovic-Henin final in Netherlands.

Posted by zenggi 06/18/2010 at 02:27 AM

jewell,

Say something about having two eyes and a lot of intelligence too.

"France without future." There...

Posted by Lump Of Kohlschreiber 06/18/2010 at 02:29 AM

All Hail Sasha Vujuvic and also his good friend Maria Sharapova for making him feel good enough about himself to knock down those 2 free throws. There is much joy here in Lakerland. In other news I can't believe Federer lost to Hewitt. It's always something......

Posted by NP 06/18/2010 at 02:31 AM

imjimmy, I became a huge Zizou fan after the last WC. Still was and am after THE incident. But, of course, I happened to catch him at the tail end of his career.

Zidane's my all-time fave footballer. I was a little too young to appreciate Maradona back then, and I never saw Pele play live. I've seen enough clips of both Ronaldos, Ronaldinho, and Messi, and Zizou >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> all of 'em in my book.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Oh My its Pimms Time Again 06/18/2010 at 02:33 AM

NP Peter and his Dad saw Pele play live

I know this just adds for your admiration for my hubby

Apart from being a Pete Sampras fan Forever!

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 06/18/2010 at 02:33 AM

Can't believe it took you nearly 25 minutes to come up with that put-down, NP. :)

Posted by imjimmy 06/18/2010 at 02:35 AM

Hey rg.nadal! I have no doubt Zimbra would be great. And obviously the price can't be beat :) But outlook still has a stranglehold at most workplaces because of it's numerous features and integration with MS Office. But yeah, If I had to pay for outlook separately, I might be tempted to look elsewhere. I have Mozilla's Thunderbird on one of my old machines. And that ain't bad either :)

AM: Thanks for the assessment. Gotta say,, I'm a little worried about Rafa's chances on grass given how little he's played on it since 2 years. The problem for him could be his return of serve, which will likely get exposed on grass. That said, Nadal played an absolute blinder in the RG final. And given that he's such a big momentum player, anything could happen in the next 2 weeks!

Posted by NP 06/18/2010 at 02:35 AM

zenggi, are those the 2 biggest sports newspapers of Spain?

Posted by zenggi 06/18/2010 at 02:36 AM

Zidane is to football what Roger is to tennis.

I cannot stand Maradona. As good as he was.

Posted by zenggi 06/18/2010 at 02:39 AM

NP,
Yes. Marca and As are the national sports papers. El Pais, El Mundo are the most sold national newspapers. Of course these last two have a sports section. In Spain people buys a newspaper (El Pais or a local news one) AND one of the two sports newspapers. Good for the economy, bad for the trees.

Posted by rg.nadal 06/18/2010 at 02:40 AM

jimmy: I also had experience with Lotus Notes. That ain't' bad either.

Off topic: Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the loveliest of them all?

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs138.snc4/37223_136323569716075_123565537658545_396584_3549347_n.jpg

Posted by NP 06/18/2010 at 02:42 AM

AM, Peter is a great man with a perfect taste.

j, I missed that post of yours the 1st time around.

Posted by zenggi 06/18/2010 at 02:42 AM

rg,
I also hope for a Henin-Petkovic final. And I'd like for Tipsarovic to win. He needs some wins asap.

You don't want to start again on that topic. Look what happened last Friday.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Oh My its Pimms Time Again 06/18/2010 at 02:42 AM

imjimmy Actually his ROS on the grass was good for someone that hasnt played on grass for 2 yrs.Th main thing is the confidence he got from RG and he showed that he is The King Of Clay.Hey I didnt think I would ever see the movment again not like RG 08 hey?

He just stepped up in that final like champions do and showed what a true clay court player is all about.

Rafa playing with confidence and healthy? Hmmmm enough for me at this stage.

Posted by imjimmy 06/18/2010 at 02:46 AM

""Zidane is to football what Roger is to tennis. ""

In other words, possibly the best player of the decade, but not the GOAT :)

Agreed with your assessment NP. Zenggi's analogy is actually perfect. I think of Zidane, as I think of Federer i.e I find their greatness inspiring, but hardly ever root for them.

To me it seems, Zidane (like Federer) fits the definition of a great general by Napolean: One who's lucky with his enemies :)

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 06/18/2010 at 02:46 AM

I quite like Maria's dress, and Serena's and JJ's. Ana's is horrible. Also saw some pictures of Wozniacki in a blue thing with swirls over the bust, which I didn't like very much.

Posted by zenggi 06/18/2010 at 02:51 AM

Maradona has had to explain that he isn't gay after those hugs and kisses with his players.
Exhibit A:
http://images2-telegraaf.nl/multimedia/archive/00731/maradona_731746d

imjimmy,
You almost got my meaning.:) I was meaning more than that i.e. style, elegance and presence. Never intended to start a you know what.

Posted by zenggi 06/18/2010 at 02:54 AM

Somethimg miss with that link above:
http://images2-telegraaf.nl/multimedia/archive/00731/maradona_731746d.jpg

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Oh My its Pimms Time Again 06/18/2010 at 02:54 AM

rafa news,18th June,2010.

Rafa will play in this years Japan Open which starts on the 4th of October

"Our focus was getting Rafa to come this time"

"People want to see Rafa" tournament director said.

"I know I have a huge fan base in Japan,so that also makes me very happy"

"I will also have the opportunity to expierence the Japanese culture,the food which I love" Rafa said.

Time for me to get my Kimino out of the moth balls I suppose

Posted by mina loves Phenomenadal 06/18/2010 at 02:56 AM

"To me it seems, Zidane (like Federer) fits the definition of a great general by Napolean: One who's lucky with his enemies :)"

LOL... and YES to this. :)

Posted by rg.nadal 06/18/2010 at 02:57 AM

zenggi: I think Becker might defend his title there. He did have a good two sets against Hewitt at halle last week and when his forehand is so good!

AM: Think Rafa would find form with each match at W. It is Djokovic whom one has to worry about. Somehow think though that he would be the dark horse of the tournament. No one expects him to do well....

jewell: Maria and JJ always dress well!

Saw these?:

Roger's W outfit: http://bit.ly/aDmcvT
Rafa's :http://bit.ly/aDmcvT
Serena's: http://bit.ly/aDmcvT
Maria's: http://bit.ly/aDmcvT

Posted by zenggi 06/18/2010 at 02:58 AM

AM,
I heard from Mr. X that Nadal would be playing in Tokyo. Not very smart IMO. But any excuse to use a kimono is a good one. Send a picture, please. :)

Posted by imjimmy 06/18/2010 at 02:59 AM

Zenggi: Just giving you a hard time! I agree about aesthetics and style. That's why I said your analogy is perfect.
As a parallel I would say Pete and Pele.

AM: The RG 2010 performance was a masterclass. Unbelievable defense, counterpunching and movement by Rafa.
Another important thing was that for the 1st half of the match the conditions were overcast and the court was dampening a lot of the bounce and spin of the ball. In the 2nd half (when it grew more sunny and the court dried out), Nadal's topspin forehand really started kicking up and dragged Soderling off the court and pushed him back. Just see Soderling's court positioning as the match progressed.

I think if it had been a traditional hot sunny day, the scoreline might have been even more one sided.

Posted by zenggi 06/18/2010 at 03:03 AM

imjimmy, I know. That's why it doesn't come as a surprise that people inmediatly jump to the wrong conclusion :)

And there are worse places in the world than Elba, I tell you. What a beautiful island!

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 06/18/2010 at 03:04 AM

I see it is orange rather than gold on Rafa's Wimbledon outfit. *pleased* I like all of them, I think.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Oh My its Pimms Time Again 06/18/2010 at 03:06 AM

imjimmy Exactly.Thats why even in those condtions damp and sunny he just showed what a Master on the clay he is.

I have watched it 4 times already and also went back and compared and watched the final in 08.

Another Master Class performance by Rafa in 2010.I just sat back and watched this young man exhibit his Magic on the clay.

I have seen most of the good clay courters in my time and that includes Borg.Rafa has taken his clay court game to another level as far as I am concerned.

I was there to witness live his 1st title in 2005,he has surpassed my expectations ten fold.

Posted by NP 06/18/2010 at 03:06 AM

zenggi, gotcha. I do know El Pais & El Mundo are the two Spanish papers of record, but didn't know about the two sports papers.

imjimmy, I did root for Zizou hard in the '06 WC final. That header in the OT should've gone in.

And speaking of rooting, I'm still dazed over the LA-Boston series atm. Craziest finals I've ever cared about. You KADs should count your blessings that Fedal don't have to go at it 7 times over 2 weeks.

Posted by imjimmy 06/18/2010 at 03:07 AM

^^ To me Nadal's performance at F.O 2010 Final was even more impressive than F.O 2008 Final. Not because of his level of play ( which was certainly better in 2008), but because how he managed to lift his game for that ONE vital match, after having a fairly ordinary tournament. Sorta like what Pistol Pete did in Wimb 99 F.

Posted by zenggi 06/18/2010 at 03:07 AM

jewell,
I was just thinking that Rafa is turning Dutch as we speak (or write). Maybe our chances at the WC will improve. :)

Posted by Tran 06/18/2010 at 03:10 AM

While I agree that Rafa is a very good tennis player, he will never be a good sportsman in fullest definition of it. He may show respects to many, but his gamesmanship and actions speak otherwise and for that he is not a class for many to admire.

Still, we have to put things into perspective, he is definitely good for the game.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Oh My its Pimms Time Again 06/18/2010 at 03:12 AM

imjimmy LOL!!!!!

Spoken like a true blue Sampras fan

Gee we will never,ever forget Pete will we? lol!

Posted by zenggi 06/18/2010 at 03:16 AM

NP,
Anytime as you say.

imjimmy,
You cannot compare Pele and Pete. Not the same decade, you know. Your rules apply to this one as well. :)

rg,
Becker is playing very well of late. I just want Tipsarovic to win.
It's going to rain tomorrow here so I don't know when/if the finals will be played. Specially because they are going to show the futbol in the screens at the stadium. Nothing can interfere with that even if it's during the finals of a tennis tournament. Sigh!

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Oh My its Pimms Time Again 06/18/2010 at 03:20 AM

imjimmy To me that is "smarter" tennis from Rafa peaking at the right time in GS finals.

Posted by imjimmy 06/18/2010 at 03:25 AM

""You cannot compare Pele and Pete. Not the same decade, you know. Your rules apply to this one as well. :)""

Negative Zenggi. Pistol Pete and Pele had one thing in common. Both were the MOST devastating force, the most authoritative players, ever seen on court/stadium. They took the sport to higher levels than anyone else ever did or will do. This is more than can be said of Fed, Zizou etc.. :)

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Oh My its Pimms Time Again 06/18/2010 at 03:26 AM

zengii Even my hubby said of Pele he was the greatest footballer

hey we all know its a Mans World dont we lol!

Posted by rg.nadal 06/18/2010 at 03:28 AM

zenggi: Here too tennis gets step-motherly treatment occasionally. Was a bit surprised to see Azarenka beat Kim. Guess Victoria is finding her groove back.

Sorry for Simon. Llodra is a tough cookie esp on grass.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Oh My its Pimms Time Again 06/18/2010 at 03:31 AM

RG Azarenka was limping towwards the latter part of her game her knees are a big question mark for me.

I will be interested to see how she goes in her match with Marion later.

Posted by imjimmy 06/18/2010 at 03:32 AM

Right AM. Good to see a smarter Nadal, one who finishes matches in the early rounds while playing without expending too much energy. But then he picks up, grinds and fights in big matches (like in grandslam finals). Let's face it, he's at his best when he uses his movement and defense to the fullest.

Anyway, as I said before, after almost a year, mentally, Nadal's looking like a winner once again. And while it might be premature after one tournament, he does seem to have the trigger of belief back. And if he carries this through Wimb and the USOpen - and if it actually grows- then we can say that he's back to his very best!

'Nite all!

Posted by rg.nadal 06/18/2010 at 03:35 AM

AM: oh la la. Poor pretty gritty gurl! Anyway Sam shall win the title there.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 06/18/2010 at 03:35 AM

I prefer Cantona to Zidane. (not contributing to the GOAT of football debate, just any excuse for this KAD to mention him, LOL.) I think he wins in the "violent incident" category, at any rate. :)

Posted by zenggi 06/18/2010 at 03:35 AM

imjimmy,
I was getting ready to go to Hertogenbosch for the tennis today. We'll never agree in tennis views, I see. Maybe on Elba? Good night!

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 06/18/2010 at 03:37 AM

I'm pleased to see Vika string a few wins together, anyway. And I have a soft spot for Marion so I'd quite like to see her win, too.

Posted by rg.nadal 06/18/2010 at 03:39 AM

Jimmy: Good nite!

Posted by NP 06/18/2010 at 03:39 AM

My crazy friend calls me at 2:30 in the morn and expects me to help her. What'd I do to deserve this?

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