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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 Master Ace 06/18/2010 at 11:49 AM

Believe that is J. Marray and Jamie Murray playing Daniel and Nenad in the first round.

Posted by Master Ace 06/18/2010 at 11:52 AM

2-all but USA got robbed of a spectular comeback win.

Posted by wilson75 06/18/2010 at 11:53 AM

robbyfan: It's Johnathan Marray and Jaime Murray not the Murray brothers

Posted by robbyfan 06/18/2010 at 11:54 AM

Wilson75-thanks. I didn't know there was another Murray besides the brothers. And for realz his last name just happens to be Murray too?

Posted by wilson75 06/18/2010 at 11:59 AM

Robbyfan: it's Marray not Murray, differently spelling, no relation

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 06/18/2010 at 12:02 PM

I'm totally confused by US third goal, why was it disallowed ??

Posted by robbyfan 06/18/2010 at 12:03 PM

Oh good grief, perhaps it is time to lose the vanity and wear my glasses??? Thanks Wilson75.

Posted by Samantha Elin(Caro to the haters, don't you wish your pusher was hott like me. 06/18/2010 at 12:03 PM

With the exception of Vee who has a great draw going into the semi, I'm worried for all my favorite including Serena who I think has the toughest draw.

Posted by Master Ace 06/18/2010 at 12:05 PM

Justine serving for the match 6-2,5-2

0-15 Justine FH wide
0-30 Justine DF
15-30 Justine FH winner behind Alexandra
30-30 Justine FH too hot for Alexandra
40-30 Alexandra BH return wide as Justine served to the body
Justine wins the match as she served and volleyed for the winner

Justine Henin defeated Alexandra Dulgheru 6-2,6-2

Posted by Master Ace 06/18/2010 at 12:07 PM

I have not figured that one out yet. Seems like Slovenia got the majority of the crucial calls in the match.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 06/18/2010 at 12:09 PM

Master Ace,

I couldn't see anything wrong with it at all.

Posted by imjimmy 06/18/2010 at 12:09 PM

Nadal's definitely gotten a raw deal with the draw i.e Nishikori, Blake, Gulbis, Youzhny/Isner, Soderling, Murray, Federer to win. I can't imagine how he could have handpicked worse opponents. Gulbis is a huge threat and was BY FAR Nadal's toughest opponent in the entire clay court season. And he plays better on grass than clay. To face him, as early as the 3rd round would be extremely tricky. Then in the 4th round, Rafa has Youzhny who nearly beat him at Wimbledon once, or Isner, who NO ONE would like to face early, as the American could beat anyone if he serves out of his mind.

Then in the quarters Nadal faces Soderling. Make no mistake about it, Soderling is by far the TOUGHEST opponent for anyone in the quarters, be it Fed/Nadal/Djokovic/Murray. He's beaten both Federer and Nadal in a slam which is MUCH MORE than can be said of the other players. Nadal's unfortunate to have drawn him. Then Murray in the SF is definitely much tougher than Djokovic in the SF on grass.

Federer's draw definitely does look easier if we compare round by round. Davydenko is poor on grass and won't make it to the QF, so Federer shouldn't have much problems in the QF. And that's true even if he faces Berdych. Certainly his main test would be running into Roddick in the SF. But then Roddick is about to make his 10th attempt to beat Federer for the FIRST TIME in a slam! In fact there is probably a better chance of Nadal hitting twenty 140 MPH+ aces in a match, than a Berdych or Hewitt beating Federer at Wimbledon. I would say Fed has a great chance to atleast reach the final. If he doesn't with this draw, then he must be really playing bad.

Nadal has a tortuous path to the SF/F and there is a good chance that he could get upset fairly early. And whoever gets to the final will probably be more fatigued while playing Federer.

Posted by robbyfan 06/18/2010 at 12:11 PM

imjimmy-Soderling has to get past Ginepri first.

Posted by Mr. and Mrs. D. 06/18/2010 at 12:11 PM

Robbyfan: glasses not necessary....take it easy on the nishikoris!:)

SamE: saw all the early matchups you were dreading!:(

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 06/18/2010 at 12:11 PM

BBC says the goal was disallowed for "an alleged pull".

Posted by leigh 06/18/2010 at 12:13 PM

Francesca made it to the Quarters last year. Hope she can bring her tough mental game to the match against
Venus (if she makes it that far). Frannie played the net so well at the French. Would love to see Sam go far, also.

Posted by wilson75 06/18/2010 at 12:21 PM

imjimmy: the last time Rafa played Murray on grass was Wimby 2007 and Murray was destroyed. Furthermore, on the three occasions that Murray beat Rafa, Rafa wasn't 100%. USO '08, Rafa ran out of gas, Rotterdam '09 and AO '10, knee problems. As for Soderling, I wouldn't be surprised if Ginepri beat him in the 1st round. I would agree that Gulbis may be tough but it's best of 5 and I see Rafa winning that one.

Posted by leigh 06/18/2010 at 12:23 PM

Janko Tipsarevic is having a good week on grass, making it to the finals in the Netherlands.
He has posed problems for Fed before. I think he could take a set off of Fed.

Posted by jb (Roddick FTW!) 06/18/2010 at 12:24 PM

imjimmy - really? seriously?

kie, who i lurve, coming off an lengthy injury and a retirement in eastbourne last week is cause for frazzling?

blake, who's played 1 match, (which he lost), in more than 4 months, is dangerous?

Gulbis, who was in doubt that he could even play because of his hamstring injury, and has NO grass tuneup atall, is a rough customer?

These 3 potential opponents combine to equal 'tortuous'? :rolls eyes:

Even given that on a the day, anyone can play the match of their lives and win, I think the likelihood of that occurring this tourney with these 3 guys, given their current condition, is pretty unlikely.

Mind you, I LIKE all of them, root them on a regular basis, and am a cockeyed optimist too boot; and even I don't think they're making it past Rafa. Unless its straight past Rafa and onto the first plane home... :)

Posted by CL 06/18/2010 at 12:25 PM

Blake!!?? Tough?!? In which decade? ;-))

But basically agree with most overall analysis on the way the draw shakes out for the top guys. And TOTALLY agree that it means diddly squat on paper, which is why they make them play. ;-)

And I third the question re Gulbis? Injured/not injured? Crazyone?? Even if he is back to full health, he is bound to be rusty so will need a few cupcakes himself to get through the early rounds. And Wild Thing is just the kind to upchuck any cupcakes he is given.

Posted by leigh 06/18/2010 at 12:26 PM

Didn't Sela take out Roddick at Queen's? Let's hope he beats Youhzny in the first round.

Posted by wilson75 06/18/2010 at 12:26 PM

Leigh: I didn't know Francesca reached the QF last year. So how come the ESPN "experts" are picking her to lose early? I hope she continues to play well, she's really a good player.

Posted by Mr. and Mrs. D. 06/18/2010 at 12:28 PM

"Blake!!?? Tough?!? In which decade? ;-))"

oooooh.....that's low!:)

Posted by nella 06/18/2010 at 12:28 PM


Posted by Lump Of Kohlschreiber 06/18/2010 at 12:30 PM

It's early in the morning, the US came back again in World Cup, the Lakers won last night and I couldn't care less about what's happening in tennis today. No Fed, no cred. So I would just like to say this: my next post will reveal my true identity once and for all. A new era in nonsense begins at 12:36.....wait for it......

Posted by pov 06/18/2010 at 12:31 PM

It worked! I may actually buy the book.

Posted by leigh 06/18/2010 at 12:34 PM

I'm not sure what kind of draw Francesca had last year, but she made it to the Quarters-
She could meet Bartoli in the Third, who made it to the Finals in '07, but only made it to the
third round last year. I like Fran's chances.
Bartoli is seeded 11th, Frannie is seeded 5th.

Posted by Lump Of KohlMiner'sDaughterschreiber 06/18/2010 at 12:36 PM

Now that's a mouthful. Kind of like my (deleted by a skittish moderating crew).
In other news I can't believe Hewitt beat Federer. It's always something......

Posted by tina (live from Ljubljana!) 06/18/2010 at 12:38 PM

Just popping in to say hello, too caught up in World Cup (for the moment)to look at the Wimbledon draw, or make space in my brain for tennis. Here in Slovenia, this whole city went mad after those two goals in the first half, only to get a draw with the US in the end. There's much discussion about the potential 3rd American goal, I'm only picking up random English words and whatever Slovenian words that are the same as Croatian. The Guardian described Slovenia's play against Algeria as "lackluster" - but I can't imagine today's match being described as "lackluster". Sorry, I'll go to a football blog now - back tomorrow to talk tennis!

Posted by wilson75 06/18/2010 at 12:39 PM

Re: Blake vs Rafa. If he reaches that far, you know that the ESPN crew will bringing up past wins Blake against Rafa. But that ship has sailed, I think we are the seeing the last days of Blake. Rafa will win that match. The question is who is Brad Gilbert going to routing Blake the American or Rafa. You know Gilbert is Rafa's biggest fan and No. 1 KAD

Posted by wilson75 06/18/2010 at 12:40 PM

Leigh: I like Francesca's chances against Bartoli too.

Posted by leigh 06/18/2010 at 12:40 PM

Thank you for the nonsense; Kohl............
It can't be a German thing. My family is German and very stoic!

Posted by Mr. and Mrs. D. 06/18/2010 at 12:41 PM

wilson75: sadly, I must agree with you re Blake:(

Posted by Sherlock 06/18/2010 at 12:45 PM

Will the real Lump please stand up. :)

Posted by leigh 06/18/2010 at 12:46 PM

It will be fun watching Fran's matches this year. Hope she goes far.
As for Gilbert, he does love Rafa.
I'm guessing Haase could take Blake out in the first, and Gilbert won't have to

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 06/18/2010 at 12:47 PM

wilson75: the Rafa-Murray match was in 2008, and Murray was likely pretty tired after that epic comeback win over Gasquet - I don't know that it would go the same way this time out, if they both get there.

Hm...Kei, Blake, Ernie *could* all be tricky but equally their form is questionable, for various different reasons.

I can't see much point in worrying beyond the first round, to be honest, as who knows what will happen? - although it is quite fun to speculate a bit. :)

Posted by Sherlock 06/18/2010 at 12:50 PM

Nothing against Ernests, but I hope he's not back at full strength yet. :)

Posted by leigh 06/18/2010 at 12:51 PM

Jewell, It is fun to speculate, predict, and HOPE.

Must get back to work. Love reading these. Thanks to all.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 06/18/2010 at 12:51 PM

There are so many good matches right from the start on the women's side. I was hoping Petkovic could make a nice run but I think if she gets through the first round she'll get Serena.

Posted by Mr. and Mrs. D. 06/18/2010 at 12:53 PM

Flavia/Gisela possible 2nd round....not that great a match-up, just unlucky for them as they seem to be good friends.

Posted by Pspace 06/18/2010 at 12:53 PM

Muzzah will kick da famoos a$$ if they meet...or not. Mwhahaha. Nah...kid will likely be so nervous that he'll freeze like last year in the SF.

Posted by CPM 06/18/2010 at 12:56 PM

Agree w/those saying Blake's best days are behind him. I mean, who knows, maybe he'll just come out and smack winners non-stop in the 2nd round ... assuming he gets there. But that's non-frazzle-worthy, imho. Gulbis is obviously the match to watch, assuming Ernests is fit & healthy. Which I'm still wondering about. Anyone?

And, pace imjimmy, Djokovic's potential QF match-up of Roddick or Hewitt is way, way, way rougher than Nadal facing Soderling. Not sure grass is Zod's best surface, either -- hard to gauge based on Wimbledon, where he's gone out to Nadal, Fed, Fed since 2007, but I'm not seeing many quality wins in his record, and I am seeing some less than promising losses in Halle.

Posted by ActionFlunky 06/18/2010 at 12:56 PM

IMJimmy -- I see you're up to your usual "Rafa got the quarter of death" stuff. The fact that even you couldn't come on here and say anything about the FO draw tells me how moist and yummy it was for the Spaniard. ;) And Soderling is the toughest QF opponent for the top four in the entire draw? You mean the same Soderling that Fed drew in his quarter in three of the last four slams? That Soderling?

And really as tough as I think Sod is, too, do you really think he's a tougher QF opponent on grass than Roddick? I'd say Nole drew a mite tougher, potential QF opponent than poor, draw-cursed Rafa.

Posted by robbyfan 06/18/2010 at 12:58 PM

I'm telling you that Sod is not getting past Ginepri!

Posted by Pspace 06/18/2010 at 01:00 PM

Last I heard of Ernie, he was hanging out with Marat. So, let's make the qualifier if he's fit and sober.

Posted by Mr. and Mrs. D. 06/18/2010 at 01:00 PM

Agree need to frazzle over Sod, Ginepri will see to that!:)

Posted by Sherlock 06/18/2010 at 01:03 PM

"So, let's make the qualifier if he's fit and sober."

Lol. For some reason, prostitutes came to mind there too. :)

Posted by CPM 06/18/2010 at 01:03 PM


I wouldn't be shocked if that came to pass.
Of the top seeds, I think Rafa's got the trickiest opening rounds; the ARod quarter has the toughest 4th & QF rounds; and the top half has the tougher semi.

Posted by Pspace 06/18/2010 at 01:04 PM

""Djokovic's potential QF match-up of Roddick or Hewitt ""

If I'm parsing the draw correctly, Nole plays Hewitt in 4th round and Roddick in QF. Most likely he doesn't play either of them ;-).

Posted by Pspace 06/18/2010 at 01:04 PM

Sherlock, I'm sure the first thing Maratski will teach him is that he doesn't need to pay to get laid ;-).

Posted by CPM 06/18/2010 at 01:05 PM


It's like you can't get prostitutes off your mind!

Oh, wait. No. That's me.

And it's 'out of my motel room', not 'off my mind'.

But I was pretty close.
LOL, Pspace.

Posted by Pspace 06/18/2010 at 01:07 PM

Hilarious. ROFL. Ernie will never live this "down".

Posted by Sherlock 06/18/2010 at 01:08 PM

Lol, Pspace. Good point. :)

Lol. Has anyone seen CPM and Gulbis together at any time? I'm beginning to wonder. :)

Posted by CPM 06/18/2010 at 01:09 PM


Right you are about the Nole quarter. In all respects -- that he'd face Hewitt 4th round, and that he likely won't make it that far.

Posted by CPM 06/18/2010 at 01:11 PM


My backhand's one-handed.

Otherwise, pretty, pretty, pretty close.

Posted by aa-yyz 06/18/2010 at 01:16 PM

Tignor has his preview up

Posted by CPM 06/18/2010 at 01:17 PM

Tignor takes Hewitt over Fed in the semis. The man is a common-wisdom-destroying machine!!

Posted by Master Ace 06/18/2010 at 01:19 PM

A = Andrea Petkovic
K = Kirsten Flipkens

Kirsten serving to begin TB

K 1-0 Kirsten drop shot winner
K 2-0 Kirsten BH passing shot winner as Andrea came to net behind FH
K 3-0 Kirsten FH return winner
K 3-1 Kirsten DF
K 4-1 Andrea nets FH return
K 5-1 Andrea FH wide
K 5-2 Kirsten FH return wide
K 5-3 Kirsten DF
K 6-3 Andrea nets BH passing shot as Kirsten came to net behind BH
Kirsten takes the set as Andrea nets BH

Posted by Sherlock 06/18/2010 at 01:21 PM

CPM, I knew it! Well, aside from the backhands. :)

Gotta like Steve. He leads with his heart. :)

Lleyton winning Wimby would a wonderful story. But, um, no.

Posted by Sherlock 06/18/2010 at 01:24 PM

Looks like I went Elmer Fudd there for a second. Would BE a wonderful story.

Posted by Ruth 06/18/2010 at 01:25 PM

Doing a quick catch up on TW before heading out again...

robbyfan: I noticed your comment to me amid all the cupcake draw comments, and I just want to assure you that your reserved seat is safe on my Roddick-Safina bus. Also, I want to add that even though I see that Dinara has fallen into my dear Venus's section, the bus title remains the same. I'll decide what to do if and when they meet. :)

Meanwhile, I must keep a low profile when avid and sblily appear, since they already blamed me for Serena's tough draw in Paris. I plead guilty to wishing for that one, but this Wimby draw...I had nothing, nothing to do with that. Honest!

Posted by wilson75 06/18/2010 at 01:25 PM

CPM: Thanks for the heads up re: Steve's predictions, that means for sure Roger will beat Hewitt. Lightening doesn't the strike the same place twice.

jewell: That's for the correction re: Murray v Rafa @ Wimby. But I still believe if Rafa and Murray do meet that Rafa will win. That's alot of pressure, I don't care what Murray says he will be feeling it and will go into passive mode and Rafa will going all out to reach the finals.

Posted by CPM 06/18/2010 at 01:25 PM


My backhand is like what Gasquet's would be if he had a pair, and like what Almagro's would be if his name weren't 'Nicolas'.

And Steve has Hewitt going down to Nadal in the finals; and so the reality principle eventually, if belatedly, set in.

Posted by CPM 06/18/2010 at 01:27 PM

And, for good measure, what Federer's would be if he shaved his head.

Posted by Sherlock 06/18/2010 at 01:33 PM

"And, for good measure, what Federer's would be if he shaved his head."

Vetmama and millions of others just shuddered with horror. :)

Posted by Holly 06/18/2010 at 01:33 PM

Now why am I NOT surprised that out of an entire book you decided to share about Fed being Prince and Rafa being in the wrong and needing to change...

Posted by observer (Go Roger, Maria and the USA) 06/18/2010 at 01:35 PM

tina, great story about being in Ljubljana during the match today. Please share any other World Cup-related things that happen to you while you travel...

Aside from Steve's bizarro pick on the men's side, I like him because he's keeping the faith re: Maria without being unrealistic... chances of getting past Serena at Wimbledon at this point... about as close to 0 as possible. Serena would have to have a very bad day (maybe Maria should dress up as Azarenka?) and that's very unlikely since Serena/Maria treat every match against each other as if the entire world depended upon the outcome. She'll never get the ranking up at this rate...

Posted by wilson75 06/18/2010 at 01:41 PM

Holly: It's just the perpetuation of the myth, that Roger the debonair person and Rafa the brut. Wertheim did the same thing in his book. The press for years kept telling us that Sampras was such a classy person only to find out that that was a fake image. They know as much about Rafa and Roger as you and me.

Posted by Master Ace 06/18/2010 at 01:49 PM

I have posted my predictions for Wimbledon...

Posted by sblily (Wheeeeee!!!/We gonna see, no?) 06/18/2010 at 01:50 PM

Mornin' y'all.

Ruth - You can come out of hiding. :) I'm actually pulling for Big Sis to win Wimbledon, so your draw fixing doesn't bother me in the slightest!

Posted by yello fuzzy 06/18/2010 at 01:54 PM

CPM , Sherlock and Vetmama
what Federer's would be if he shaved his head."[/IMG]

Posted by sisu (formerly “just a note/jan”) 06/18/2010 at 01:55 PM

MA, I just logged on. Where might your predictions be please? :)

Posted by Sherlock 06/18/2010 at 01:56 PM

Lol. Awesome, Fuzzy. :)

Posted by Colette 06/18/2010 at 01:59 PM

YFuzzy, all he needs is the Lujbicic headband

Posted by london 06/18/2010 at 01:59 PM

Time for my world famous predictions of WTA Grand Slams: Wimbledon 2010 Edition

Round of 16:
Serena def. Sharapova
Radwanska def. Li
Azarenka def. Wozniacki
Stosur def. Rezai
Henin def. Clijsters
Wickmayer def. Jankovic
Bartoli def. Dushevina
Venus def. Groenefeld

Serena def. Radwanska
Azarenka def. Stosur
Henin def. Wickmayer
Venus def. Bartoli

Serena def. Azarenka
Venus def. Henin

Venus def. Serena and collect her 6th and final Wimbledon title.

Posted by leigh 06/18/2010 at 01:59 PM

Federer's shaved head. lol

Check out the look-alikes.
Fed does look like Quentin Tarantino (director of Pulp Fiction)
Other great comparisons.

Posted by yello fuzzy 06/18/2010 at 02:00 PM

not sure thats a good look for Roger....hope he never goes the James Blake or Davydenko route
the gasp heard around the world, the day when Roger enters center court with his head shaved

Posted by ActionFlunky 06/18/2010 at 02:00 PM

Hey, now c'mon. That's Mr. Clean/completely bald Agassi stuff. ;) Fed, I'm thinking, would have the Zidaine/stubble look.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (WTA Rules) 06/18/2010 at 02:02 PM

Popping in for a minute. What is everyone up to on the Friday before the bestest tennis tournament ever - LOL

@Colette, I saw your post and believe it or not the tv is now off. Been busy but I realised that they plan to show the semis again and again and again and again - oy vey

Andrea Petikovic - BUY, HOLD OR SELL - SELL for the best that money can buy. This woman cannot close out a set or a match if her very life depended on it. Watching her is so frustrating. So much talent and not one ounce of belief anywhere to be found. This match should have been 6-4, 6-4. She has been the better player off the ground but Flipkens is just hanging in there.

Posted by Master Ace 06/18/2010 at 02:02 PM

You have to go to Steve's thread for them for now. Will post once there is a draw preview on each tour and Deuce Club.

Posted by Colette 06/18/2010 at 02:05 PM

MA, Wow a "maybe" for Murray! Either Andy would be nice, but Roddick first, please.

Posted by Pspace 06/18/2010 at 02:05 PM

MA, if your ATP prediction comes true, I will be heartbroken. Three losses in a Slam F to the same opponent, and taking in a winning record in all three cases. *shudders* Please no. I will the sticking pins in voodoo dolls so that Federer loses should Murray make the SF, or Rafa beating Muzz in SF would be ok with me.

Posted by Colette 06/18/2010 at 02:06 PM

Fed going for a gig on Saturday Night Live.

Posted by ActionFlunky 06/18/2010 at 02:08 PM

Thanks for sharing, london.

Posted by Master Ace 06/18/2010 at 02:17 PM

A = Andrea Petkovic
K = Kirsten Flipkens

Andrea serving to being 2nd set TB 6-7(3),6-all

A 1-0 Kirsten FH wide
1-all Andrea nets FH
A 2-1 Kirsten nets FH
2-all Kirsten FH winner
A 3-2 Kirsten BH passing shot wide as Andrea came to net behind BH
A 4-2 Kirsten nets FH
Will Kirsten rally to win the match in straights? She rallied from a double break in the first to win the set in TB and then broke Andrea in set 2 when Andrea served at 5-4
A 5-2 Kirsten BH approach wide
A 6-2 Kirsten volley winner after Kirsten got to drop shot
Andrea forces the decider as Kirsten FH sails long

Kirsten to serve starting the decider 7-6(3),6-7(2)

Posted by pogiako 06/18/2010 at 02:22 PM

There was a time when Rafa and Novak played for more than 4 hours in a 3 set game. Some people think it was a great match. But actually both were dragging their feet, bouncing balls longer than necessary, so half of the time, they were just killing time.

Posted by TeamNadal 06/18/2010 at 02:25 PM


Posted by yello fuzzy 06/18/2010 at 02:34 PM


not sure if this helps...[/IMG]

Posted by Colette 06/18/2010 at 02:36 PM

Thanks, YFuzzy, you photoshopster. Funny how bald is the great assimilator

Team Nadal:

"Step, kick, one, two

Swing the racquet, woo-hoo"

Look at the dude in the beret in back looking at him

Posted by yello fuzzy 06/18/2010 at 02:40 PM

funny stuff

Posted by Cupcake lurker- On a new chapter 06/18/2010 at 03:05 PM

"I will the sticking pins in voodoo dolls so that Federer loses"

Pspace, so you've definitely step off the Fed express, no?

MA- I hope you're predictions on the ATP for the William-Federer classic are as good as the ones for the last GS :D, and ******* get's it, no matter what Psapace says :P.

On the WC I see that England has smartly decided to put another goalie, and are playing slightly better too.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 06/18/2010 at 03:16 PM

L.Jon's mailbag this week is chock full of great stuff including an hysterical clip of Robin Soderling pointing to the wrong mark during his Rome 09 match against Rafa and then going ballistic when the ump won't change the call! (I saw that match but had forgotten the incident.)

Posted by Colette 06/18/2010 at 03:27 PM

MA, that was just wishful thinking, btw, since you brought him that far!

Posted by Pspace 06/18/2010 at 03:35 PM

Cupcake Lurker, not really stepped off. It's more like on some time, off some time ;-). Ees complicated. Anyway, if Federer plays like he did in Oz, it'll be very hard not to root for him.

Posted by Cupcake lurker- On a new chapter 06/18/2010 at 04:04 PM

"if Federer plays like he did in Oz", can he pretty, pretty please.

Posted by sisu (formerly “just a note/jan”) 06/18/2010 at 04:20 PM

Thank you MA.

Posted by imjimmy 06/18/2010 at 05:03 PM

""The fact that even you couldn't come on here and say anything about the FO draw tells me how moist and yummy it was for the Spaniard. You mean the same Soderling that Fed drew in his quarter in three of the last four slams? That Soderling?""

ActionFlunky: If you read my old posts, I said during the F.O, that Nadal got the clay court specialists in his half (alamagro, verdasco, Djokovic, belluci) that Fed wouldn't like. And Fed got big hitters in his half, that Nadal wouldn't. In that sense, both were fortuitous with the draw. Anyway, how do you prepare a tough draw for Nadal on Clay? Or for Federer on grass? Both are so dominant on these surfaces that they start out as favorites against everyone.

And yes, I spoke about Soderling, who's backed up his performance after beating Nadal last year. The one who Federer had to beat by playing some scintillating tennis in Wimb and UsO, both in extremely close matches. Soderling might have prevailed against most other players last year. Now, he's coming off a win of Federer, has a win over Nadal, and is the in form player(which is more than can be said of the others). Plus his serve alone can make him unbeaten on grass when it's on. Furthermore who else has beaten both Fed and Nadal in a slam among the people in the draw?

I agree about Roddick as a contender for Wimbledon because of his grass court pedigree. But really, I'm not so high on the American. What has he done in the past few months? Not to mention that he's also woefully short of match practice, skipping a large part of the clay season in his infinite wisdom. Furthermore, last time, I checked Roddick hadn't beaten Fed in a slam in 9 tries! Does he seem like a player who can take both Nadal and Fed out of a 5 set grandslam? Not to me.

As far as Nadal's draw, let's see who he faces:

Nishikori: One of the young talents took a set off peak Nadal in Queens 08.

Blake: Inconsistent but very dangerous if he's on, and has a good h2h against Rafa

Gulbis: One of the hottest players in the clay court season. Gave Rafa his stiffest challenge there. In Wimb 08, when he was nowhere close to what he is today, Gulbis took a set off peak-Nadal. In fact that was the ONLY set Nadal lost before the final in Wimb 2008.

Isner: Nightmare on grass. Big server in the league of Karlovic, with a ground game that is much superior. Has already taken out Andy Roddick in UsO 2009.

Soderling: As I said before, the hottest player IMO. No one would EVER like to see him in their quarter (Federer included).

Murray: Another bad matchup for Nadal. One who beat him handily the last 2 times they played in a slam. And also should be inspired playing in front of his home crowd.

Pray is this an easy draw? How could Rafa, himself, have chosen a harder draw?

Posted by manuelsantanafan 06/18/2010 at 05:11 PM


Thanks for directing us to John W's Mailbag, this week's edition.

One question in the mailbag, from Houston's Earl Strickler:

"Now that Wimbledon has hired an official poet for The Championships, shouldn't the French Open have an official existentialist?"

Strickler then follows with a question that may, or may not be, existential in nature. Possibly Descartian--which does not necessarily make the question nonexistential--I don't know enough about existentialism or Descartian thought to be of assistance here.

Where are Tigress or Tim when they are most needed?

Posted by ActionFlunky 06/18/2010 at 05:54 PM

IMJimmy -- I don't know if I said Rafa had an easy draw, did I? In fact, before responding to your initial post, I admitted Fed had the least toughest quarter of the top four.

Anyway, on one hand you question Roddick because of his last few months. Fair enough, but what has Soderling done this year beyond the French? Recall that Roddick won Miami and came in second at Indian Wells. Moreover, he's finished runner-up at Wimby three times, and I believe has a SF appearance to toss in there for good measure. Sure, Sod impresses the hell out of me -- you're right, he gave Fed very tight matches both at Wimby and the USO -- but calling him a bigger QF threat on grass than Roddick is a bit laughable. Hey, maybe it plays out that way. But I'm betting you'd bankrupt any bookmaker in the world if you set the odds to reflect that view. Either that, or they'd fire you within a day of setting such odds.

Let me ask you this: if Nadal drew Roddick and Federer drew Soderling would you still be saying Soderling is the toughest QF opponent any of the big four might face?

Gulbis? Could be a serious threat, but no one knows the state of his injury. Likewise, Blake could be dangerous, but again, a huge quesiton mark given his form for the last twelve months. (Remember, this is the same James Blake who went out the first round at last year's Wimby.) Plus, I don't know if anyone has ever confused grass as Blake's best surface.

I'll give you Isner, but even there we have no idea what sort of grass game he has. Or at least I don't; maybe you do.

And in terms of potentially Muzz and Fed, well it's the SF and Fs, every player in the draw (even those beyond Rafael Nadal) should expect to be facing the best the game has to offer at that stage, including potentially Andy Roddick, or hey, maybe even Robin Solderling.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 06/18/2010 at 05:56 PM

MSF: ahh, with one hand you giveth and with the other you taketh away...

I thought it was a particularly fun mailbag.

Besides we have Highpockets and yellowfuzzy and they can't be topped. As for existentialism, philosophy freaked me out. I threw Neibhur across the room in complete frustration.

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