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Wimbledon: 2008 Revisited 06/19/2010 - 8:31 AM

Cover.HardcourtConfidential On the eve of Wimbledon, I thought it might be a nice idea to re-visit the epic Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal final of 2008, just to remind us how hard to wish for a reprise of that battle. But let's look at it through the eyes of Patrick McEnroe, who shares his thoughts on the match in his new book, Hardcourt Confidential: Tales from Twenty Years in the Pro Tennis Trenches.

Stay tuned as we continue our final countdown to Wimbledon. Bobby Chintapalli will be back tomorrow, with some thoughts on the WTA action.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

-- Pete

I intently watched Nadal, and his entourage suffering in the player’s guest box, as the young Spaniard flopped into his chair on the changeover at the end of the fourth set of the Wimbledon final of 2008.

Toni Nadal, Rafa’s coach and uncle, dropped his head to the railing in the player guest box. Rafa’s father Sebastian stood up and he must have told Toni not to do that, because in a moment his brother was bolt upright again. It was a momentary lapse, a show of despair from a straightforward, even- tempered guy who’s anything but obsessed with winning and losing. What he’s obsessed with— and it shows in his nephew’s conduct and words— is character.

101980353 Toni Nadal used to make Rafa play with poor quality equipment,just to show him that he had to buck up and play with the tools at his disposal. He forbade Rafa jamming his feet into his shoes without untying the laces: “Just because you get them for free doesn’t mean you can ruin them; many people work very hard just to be able to afford the shoes you get for free.” He made Rafa sweep the court before and after practice session, even after the boy had become a

Grand Slam champion. And he made Rafa carry his own bags. In 2005, Rafa scored one of the fi rst big wins on hard courts, winning the big Masters 1000 My ESPN booth-mate Cliff Drysdale and I worked that match, and we were scheduled to call the first match of the Cincinnati Masters, fewer than Twenty- four hours after later. We groused and complained about having to be at the airport to catch a flight on a small commuter airline at six in the morning after the Montreal fi nal, and when we got to the airport we were surprised to see we weren’t the first of the tennis people to arrive.

Toni Nadal and Rafa were already standing in line, patiently waiting to check their bags. “Well,” I said to Cliff. “If Rafa can do it, I guess we can, too.” By then, Rafa’s great rival, Roger Federer, was traveling exclusively by private jet; in fact, after Novak Djokovic beat Rafa and Roger, in back- to- back matches at the same Montreal event in 2007, Roger decided to spare Rafa the indignities of the Com- Air check- in line and gave him a lift to the next event in his private jet.

But back to that fourth set changeover. If Toni had surrendered to despair at the end of that fourth set, I could only imagine what Rafa himself felt. But it was impossible to tell. Beads of perspiration dripped from his damp, dark hair as he sat. He looked curiously at peace with himself, not by any means resigned. He held his chin high and gazed off into the distance, as if
he were watching some strange object crawling across the horizon.

He was devoid of visible emotion, although he had plenty of reason to be captive to feelings, most of them bad. Nadal had won the first two sets by identical 6– 4 scores, setting the stage for the one thing no one had expected: a blowout. He came within a hair’s breadth from winning this match in straight sets, 6– 4, 6– 4, 6– 4. But he faltered, ever so slightly, and lost his momentum.

With the help of rain delays, Federer had found a way back into the hunt. He chipped away at Nadal’s huge lead, and won that third set. And not long after that he had stared down one match point and faced another in the tiebreaker.

 Everyone knows how that 2008 final turned out: Nadal finally won it, 9– 7 in the fifth, under light conditions so poor that had it not developed into the greatest tennis match of our time, it might have been called because of darkness before the last ball was hit.I was really curious to find out what Nadal had been thinking on that changeover at the start of the fifth set, and I found out soon enough. He told us in response to the very first question asked at the official post- match press conference. Did you think you’d blown it after failing to convert those two fourth- set match points?

These were his exact words: “I just reminded myself that I am still here. The match is not over, we are at two sets all. When I lost the fourth set I was sitting down, and just say [to myself], ‘Well, I am playing well, I am doing well, I am with very good positive attitude, so gonna continue like this and wait, wait what’s happening. I feeled confident with myself, so for that reason I was confident on the match . . .”

And that, right there, is one of the major keys to Nadal’s success - and a pretty good explanation of how the guy was able to complete what started out as an impossible mission— to catch and eventually eclipse Federer (albeit briefly), and to bring him down on his own turf.

Every player in a tough match, even at a small club tournament, tells himself: Hey, it’s about now. Forget what happened two moments ago, or back in the first set. Stay in the now. Love the game, indulge your passion for it. Players strive mightily to think that way, and it’s a message I’m always trying to drill into my kids. But it may be the hardest of all things to do in this game. And Nadal had the poise, mental discipline, and the deep confidence to not only think but live that mandate in what had to be the darkest hour of his career.

In the aftermath, people inevitably compared the match with its predecessor “the greatest Wimbledon battle of the Open era,” [my brother] John’s clash with Björn Borg in 1980— the five- set war that featured what is now known simply as The Tiebreaker. John won that fourth- set
tiebreaker, 18– 16, saving a handful of match points along the way.

Like everyone else, John expected that his performance in that tiebreaker might break Borg’s steely spirit, but the Swede overcame the devastating effect of that lost breaker to take the match, 8– 6 in the fifth.

The comparison is specious, and if anything it’s unfair to Nadal.In 1980, Borg was already a Wimbledon champion; he was gunning for an outrageous fifth consecutive Wimbledon title, while John had just one major title, earned at the previous year’s US Open. Borg, like Federer (who already had five Wimbledon trophies in 2008), was the more accomplished, experienced favorite.

Sure, you can appreciate the pressure Björn felt as John, an explosive upstart, set about hunting him down. Roger probably experienced the same apprehensions. But could anyone have more confidence to draw on, more reason to believe that he could, and would, win than Borg— or Federer?  John, also the hunter, did not win his ultimate Wimbledon showdown. Rafael Nadal did.

It’s funny, but there’s nothing earth shattering or especially insightful in Nadal’s explanation of what he was thinking. If you’re unfamiliar with tennis, you might even shrug and say it amounted to a string of typical jock clichés.

Some players say something like that, and you think, The guy is full of crap. He’s just talking. . .

But when Nadal says such obvious, simple things, you really believe him. When he says he feels content, even though he lost in the semifi nals of the US Open because “being one of the last four is good, no?,” you believe him because— because you just know it’s coming from his heart, and because he’s right. He makes his point in a way both innocent and preemptive, like a wise child pointing out the obvious to a confused and overly analytical adult.




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Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 06/20/2010 at 09:48 AM

Well, surprise surprise. The Federer-Nadal rivalry is on the front page of the sunday sports section of the New York Times. You would think the writer had been reading TW.

Posted by Mike 06/20/2010 at 10:00 AM

Yeah, Annie ... their rivalry has transcended Tennis and even Sport, in general. Regardless of which one is your fave, that's quite an admirable feat. ;)

Posted by wilson75 06/20/2010 at 10:05 AM

I think it's unfortunate that the tournament director has decided to put Laura Robson on CC right after Roger. It's like throwing her to the wolves. CC will be packed and all that attention is a little too much too soon in her career. Furthermore I think she's going to get slaughtered by Jankovic.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (WTA Rules) 06/20/2010 at 10:09 AM

@wilson75, do not be too sure about that. Robson is very feisty and Jankovic is not known for keeping her composure especially when the crowd is not rooting for her. See US Open 2008 against Serena. When her back was against the wall and the crowd was pulling for Serena she started complaining about Serena taking too much time between points etc. If the English crowd start pulling for Robson and she takes confidence from that who knows what will happen.

What concerns me about Jankovic is that she decided to skip a grass tune up to practice on indoor hard for grass season. I guess the fact that the Sisters practice on hard courts in preparation for Wimbledon, everyone else will be trying to find an edge.

Posted by wilson75 06/20/2010 at 10:16 AM

JK: I'm not sure, I admit I have never seen Robson play but I'm wary of the British press hype that follows her. These are the same people who tout Murray as the best player in the world and future GS winner. I'm yet to see that. As Jankovic, I think she will come out wanting to quiet the crowd and blow Robson off the court.

Posted by Cupcake lurker- On a new chapter 06/20/2010 at 10:19 AM

I can't find anything on the Sod, so I'm hoping it was just a comment and nothing comes of it.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 06/20/2010 at 10:20 AM

cupcake lurker: well that's encouraging about Robin. Please keep us posted. thanks.

Posted by Heather 06/20/2010 at 10:27 AM

Good Morning, everyone! Super excited for tomorrow and the weather is going to be wonderful in London all week, warm and sunny which will mean the courts will be playing faster!! Good news for the Andy R bus occupants! :)

Posted by Jamaica Karen (WTA Rules) 06/20/2010 at 10:32 AM

wilson75, I saw Robson play a first round match last year against Hantuchova. She took her to 3 sets and the crowd was really rallying behind her so much so that it kind of threw Daniela off her game.

Robson has a nice game. I would not call her a world beater. What struck me at the time was how she carried herself on the court. She had this really stoic thing going on. I thought it was quite admirable. She has lost a little bit of momentum since that time but that is to be expected as she is making the transition from juniors to the senior tour. One hopes that the British media will stop all the hype and allow these young players to develop their games at their own pace.

Heather Watson is the player that I am most looking forward to see play. I have never seen her play but I have heard positive things about her from others who have seen her. So there is that. Heather seems to be more under the radar than Laura so that may help. She seems to be living in the shadow of Robson in terms of media coverage.

Posted by wilson75 06/20/2010 at 10:50 AM

JK: The British media hype tends to put me off players and I didn't like what Robson had to say about other female players. I'll give her that she's young and still have alot to learn and probably got a little carried away because she was given a pictoral in British Vogue.

I suspect that Watson may be a better player than Robson but she's not as well known because she lives at Bolleterri's and also is from Guernsey not London. I think may help her, give her some breathing space to grow as a player.

Posted by Syd 06/20/2010 at 10:54 AM

oh, well Roger sometimes files commercial and Nadal sometimes flies by private jet.

Wanna make something of that?

Posted by CPM 06/20/2010 at 11:02 AM

That's gotta just be a rumor, re: Sod. The men's game has suffered, and is still suffering (hey Juanma! hiya Ernie!), enough from injury-related depletion over the last year, thankyouverymuch.

I hear Federer's looking to invest in a teleporter after hearing about Ernie's spaceship, btw. Or maybe he'll go old-school & build a luxury Zeppelin. How awesome would that be?! Gottfried von Cramm would have nothing on Fed.

Posted by sisu (formerly “just a note/jan”) 06/20/2010 at 11:11 AM

'Morning everyone.

Some great reading from last afternoon/night. Thanks TWibe! ;)

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 06/20/2010 at 11:13 AM

Syd, um, I think we pretty much covered it at length last night.

Posted by Syd 06/20/2010 at 11:18 AM

oh, okay, Annie. :)

cheers.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 06/20/2010 at 11:24 AM

Hey, everyone. :)

wilson75: Robson did later apologise for that remark. I guess you could say the damage was done and it's easy to say sorry afterwards - but she's still only 16, she is going to make mistakes like that, IMO.

Posted by Pspace 06/20/2010 at 11:50 AM

Oooh in all the Fedal discussion, I missed that Randy is playing Rajeev Ram first up. Should be a fun match. Ram plays S&V IIRC. Robson vs JJ! Nice!

Posted by Pspace 06/20/2010 at 11:53 AM

Interview with the Fudd. He's gotten all nice these days...boring:

"""
"I'm happy he's back," the top seed said. "I want him to play every tournament. I felt like what I saw was the old classic Rafa on clay hardly losing sets and matches. That's what we got from him. That's why it's going to be incredibly hard to beat him here at Wimbledon."

Federer also puts Great Britain's Andy Murray up there as a title contender despite the world No.4's recent patchy form. "I think regardless of what happened between here and the Australian Open, Andy is one of the big favourites for this tournament. You have to maybe ignore a little bit what happened in between [Australia and now] and remember the last time you played a best‑of‑five-set match. This is when he was very tough. I think that's why maybe it favours the big guys. Andy's obviously one of them."
"""

http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/news/articles/2010-06-20/201006201277037821470.html

Posted by Pspace 06/20/2010 at 11:57 AM

Very interesting comments from Rafa. Presser on Wimby page:

"""
Q. When you switch from clay court to grass court, what is the most important thing to concentrate on? Is it technically or mentally?

RAFAEL NADAL: Technique for me. Mentally I think I know how I have to play to play well on grass. But is difficult to do it for me, no?

Q. Technical adjustments you have to do?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, the movements are very important, how to move. The way that you are touching the ball is very important because you have to -- you know, on clay you have more time to think.

Here, if you are not touching the ball perfect most of the times, is very difficult to have the control of the point.

So the important thing is adjust your game, adapt your game to play well on this surface. So you have to put the ball more inside the court. You can't defend on this surface because when you run to one place, is very difficult to come back, especially after the first week. After the second week is more like clay. But especially the first days is very difficult, so is very important.
"""

The last two lines should make NP and imjimmy very happy :-).

Posted by wilson75 06/20/2010 at 12:14 PM

Jewell: I know Robson apologised, I'm just sorry she said it in the first place but as you say she's very young.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 06/20/2010 at 12:21 PM

In this summer's sporting highlights out of Great Britain, Jorge Lorenzo won the MotoGP, held at Silverstone. Spaniards took first and second in the 125cc race and a Spaniard made the podium in the Moto2 race.

Spanish authorities will hold an inquiry regarding why Spaniards only took four of the nine podium spots at Silverstone.

Whereas Spain's World Cup team has, so far this year, continued its tradition of being the biggest underachievers and chokers in World Cup; the Spanish team, as usual, cannot surpass the French in bringing drama and flair to sucking at futbol. In just the first ten days of this year's competition; the French booted one of their better players off the team after his profanity-laced tirade against the team's coach, the French team boycotted one practice, and the French team director quit the team.

Briefly directing my attention to tennis, I sadly note that neither James Blake's J-Block nor Sam Querrey's Samurai will be attending Wimbledon this year. However, Laura Robson has assembled a group of some of her more cheeky young supporters, unofficially known as "Laura's Sluts," who will be fervently agitating on Robson's behalf at SW19 this year.

Posted by Colette 06/20/2010 at 12:34 PM

Good news about Robin, altho' if he beats Rafa and eventually (sigh!) RAndy, it will be a Sod story.

Posted by beth 06/20/2010 at 12:53 PM

Pspace!!!
Hear you are moving to Norcal !
so - looking forward to maybe seeing you at IW - good luck in your new job
but in answer to what does a guy do with $180 K except pay rent ?
In California , it's called taxes - lots of them
because , see , you are almost rich - you have to reach $250 K to be really rich here , but you are getting close
And that means you get to foot the bill for everybody else - or at least a large part of it
So you won't see all of your $180K - in fact you will only see about 55% of it - and that does limit how much you can spend on rent - if you want to eat

Still - welcome to the sunshine state - it is a beautiful place to live

Posted by Pspace 06/20/2010 at 12:58 PM

LOL, beth. Trust me my salary is much less than $180K....I was just saying it seemed like a decent amount. So taxes amount to 45%? Wow...that's robbery. I figured it would only be around 35%. Jajaja...I'll prolly be poor for a while then.

Posted by beth 06/20/2010 at 12:58 PM

and - I want a ride on the Roddick bus
I love Rafa and if he wins I will be thrilled - but just this one event , just this year , I want Andy Roddick to hold the Wimbledon trophy

sad about Gulbis ' withdrawing - the men's event is laden with players who had to withdraw when things were looking good for them
Gulbis, Gasquet , and Nalbandian - all have shown good form on grass and some weapons in the past
Gulbis with his serve , Nalbandian a former finalist , Gasquet was on form in Queen's when he tore the intracostal muscles in his rib cage - just rotten luck for them - and us - who want to see the best play at the biggest events

oh
and Happy Father's Day ! too all you dads - enjoy your day

Posted by beth 06/20/2010 at 01:03 PM

hmmm Pspace - yes , we have pretty high taxes
by the time you put in the donation to the IRS , the 11% state income tax , the 10 % sales tax, the property tax at 1.3% ( or something like that - if you own property ) , and all the excise taxes tucked in by the local counties to support their pet projects - it is pretty exhorbitant . Almost rivaling some countries in Europe - but not quite
still there are some great places to be and live , and if you don't mind a drive - you can find reasonable housing in good areas - and plenty to do for entertainment
beautiful scenery and parks - the beaches - the best in entertainment- all that is available here

Posted by beth 06/20/2010 at 01:06 PM

not to mention great sports
tennis is most definitely year round - and in my area , at least
we have clubs for sure , But public parks and local schools - all with courts that can be accessed easily by residents of the area.

Posted by Pspace 06/20/2010 at 01:09 PM

beth, ""the 10 % sales tax, the property tax at 1.3%"" ah ok...at least I get to see the money before it evaporates in sales tax :-), and I prolly won't own property for a while. But, yeah, I'm not going to live in San Francisco city....was looking @ rent, and there seem to be reasonable places near Menlo Park (where work is).

Posted by beth 06/20/2010 at 01:14 PM

that is true , Pspace - and you can choose to buy - or not to
and of course , if you are lucky - and have a clever accountant - there are deductions and refunds to be had
( or at least to apply to next year's quarterlies :))

San Fran itself is extremely expensive - so wise to live in other areas , nearer to work

The general rule - the closer to the ocean , the higher the rent ( or purchase price )
as they say - location , location , location

just a question - do you ski or enjoy winter sports ? You will be close to Mammoth , which is a great resort for winter activities - an easy drive from the Bay Area -
They also host a huge tennis tournament up there in the late summer - and use the ski runs as mountain biking trails in the summer
It is really lovely - and a pleasant change from the big city atmosphere

Posted by beth 06/20/2010 at 01:16 PM

well - better run
get started on a Father's Day breakfast
I hear my husband returning from his morning of surfin
talk later and see you all at the tennis matches

Wimbledon starts tomorrow !!!

Posted by zenggi 06/20/2010 at 01:22 PM

Good evening,
I'm the proud mother of a tennis champion. My daughter won the tournament today! :)
On to look up the latest fashion on jet planes :)

Beth,
You are so right. I pay 55% taxes on my income. In the past in The Netherlands the tax money was put to good use i.e. free help at home for old people, free education and books for children up to 16 years, free health and dentist care, free Dutch and integration lessons for the immigrants, etc. All this is gone now and we are still paying 55%. Goodbye to the welfare state!

Federer is very up to date about football. Concentrate, Roger. And don't jinx Englad. They are doing it by themselves. It's Wimbledon time!

"Q. Who is your favorite in the World Cup?

ROGER FEDERER: I think so far it's been hard to really go just purely with one team. First up, honestly I thought England had a very good chance. Now you never know what's going to happen there. It all comes down to the last match. Argentina, seems like they're solid. Holland are the first that's qualified I think right now.

No, I think Switzerland has the best chance, you know. That's how it looks like for the moment (smiling).

Q. Switzerland playing at 3:00 tomorrow and on Monday, how will that affect your preparations?

ROGER FEDERER: You think I'll just like leave the court at 3:00? That's not going to happen quite yet. Maybe I can install a little screen on Centre Court on the change of ends (smiling).

It's happened in the past that I've had to play matches during important things in my life. You know, kind of went on court last year many times thinking that Mirka was going to give birth to my children. That was a bit more, you know, crazy than Switzerland playing at 3 p.m. I still have a chance to maybe go see a little bit."

Posted by Ethan1 06/20/2010 at 01:35 PM

I can't wait for Nadal to mercilessly and repeatedly smash Soderling's VIKING FACE into the foilage.

Posted by Stewart 06/20/2010 at 01:56 PM

Ethan I think you mean foliage?

Don't count on it - Sod'lll be hungry for payback.

As long as someone other than Nadal and Fed win I'll be happy. Roddick-Murray-Sod-Djokovic in that order.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (WTA Rules) 06/20/2010 at 02:11 PM

If anyone is interested and has the Big Ten network, College tennis is on. Off to watch

Posted by Jamaica Karen (WTA Rules) 06/20/2010 at 02:12 PM

Congrats Zenggi on your daughter's win today. Next stop, Wimbledon champion :)

Posted by CL 06/20/2010 at 02:18 PM

Pspace - cool about your SF future. I have relatives there and they love it. Also not rich, but they manage ok.

Posted by Andrew 06/20/2010 at 02:37 PM

Afternoon, all.

Fathers Day lunch with Cathleen, who has just demolished a big hunk of garlic bread.

I gather Mr Nadal has been avoiding Mr Federer at the practice courts, so as to avoid discussing a certain soccer match earlier this week....

Terrific article on the WTA in the Guardian yesterday. I hope there's a match as good as the RG final this year.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (WTA Rules) 06/20/2010 at 02:40 PM

Just saw news that Dustin Brown may be playing for Great Britain. Apparently he has British connections through his grandmother. He is refusing to play Davis Cup as he does not feel that Tennis Jamaica has aided in his development and have done nothing to assist him. They are only interested when Davis Cup rolls around. Wow. Cannot believe little old Jamaica having problems with tennis players. LOL

Posted by wilson75 06/20/2010 at 02:54 PM

JK: Wasn't Dustin Brown born in Germany and lived half his life and currently lives there? The most logical thing is try and get his ranking up and try to play for Germany. He can't be angry at Tennis Jamaica because they don't have the funding to support him.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 06/20/2010 at 03:05 PM

They showed a brief clip of Fed at his pre-match presser on espn today. He looked about as handsome as I've ever seen him. Gorgeous in fact. The hair!!!! And a really great white jacket. Did anybody else see it?

Posted by CL 06/20/2010 at 03:05 PM

I need a soccer/football 101 lesson: When the goalie gets his hands on the ball...either when he makes a stop or when sometimes his own team kicks it back to him, does he ALWAYS have the right to kick the ball downfield? And how far out of his crease can him come to get the ball? What is that little half circle in front of the goal rectangle?

Thanks in advance.

Oh, garlic bread! I love it...alas, it loves me less well. I am beginning to become more fond of slow roasted garlic...loses a bit of its bite, but gets nice and soft and spreadable...with cream cheese on dark rye! yum!

Happy Father's Day to Andrew and all other Twibe Father's.

Posted by CL 06/20/2010 at 03:08 PM

Wait -are those WATER bottles lined up on the sidelines? does Rafa know about this? Because I'm not sure they meet his rigid standards of precision placement. ;-)

Posted by CL 06/20/2010 at 03:13 PM

annie- I have seen pictures. He did look good. A bit of a dust up at the Mothership among the long hair/short hair camps. Someone posted that one year he actually cut his hair in the middle of a tournament. Egad. What boldness from the man! ;-) Pretty non superstitious - most guys won't even shave during a tournament. Fed of course has to because of his Gillette contract, but I think he is pretty relaxed about his 'routine'

BTW, there is a rumour that Fed will wear pink post Wimby. We shall see. If he does it is not doubt an homage to his girls. I for one will not be a happy camper. Am of the opinion that pretty generally speaking, the only people who look 'pretty in pink' are under the age of 6.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (WTA Rules) 06/20/2010 at 03:18 PM

wilson75, who knows with Dustin. He has only just come to my attention since this season and already there seems to be controversy surrounding him and Tennis Jamaica. He has stated that in order for him to play Davis Cup they will have to fire the current coach. LOL Of course the federation said no.

Many Jamaicans have some form of connection to Britain (we were after all a crown colony) so it perhaps makes sense for him to play for Great Britain, but yes I agree Germany would seem to be the logical choice for him.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (WTA Rules) 06/20/2010 at 03:19 PM

@CL, try slow roasted garlic with extra virgin olive in mashed potatoes - yummmm

Posted by zenggi 06/20/2010 at 03:19 PM

Back from the celebratory dinner. Happy Father's Day!

CL,
The goalie can touch the ball with his hands ONLY in the 16 m. zone. That is the square in front of the goal post.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 06/20/2010 at 03:21 PM

Andrew: Happy father's day!!! Did you have to do the cooking? And happy father's day to all the twibe dads.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 06/20/2010 at 03:25 PM

hey andrew, I think I called Cathleen "Danielle" by mistake the other day. Sorry about that.

Posted by Pspace 06/20/2010 at 03:30 PM

beth, thanks for the info on Mammoth. Haven't tried any winter sports except ice skating...I learned to skate really late in life...so I assume I won't be good at skiing either. Anyway, I do like a good hike/run, which should be possible during the summer months. But, yeah, it certainly looks like the bay area is tennis heaven...I've been fantasizing about getting my level up to 5.0. Please tennis g_o_d_s?

CL, good to know.

Posted by zenggi 06/20/2010 at 03:32 PM

For those interested in Robin Soderling. From twitter posted last Friday:

"Played an exhibition match against Ferrer today. Grass court form is pretty good so far."

Posted by ActionFlunky 06/20/2010 at 03:38 PM

Wertheim's last mailbag if anyone's interested. First question tackles Fed's slowing down. Better yet, second one leads to his tips on what do as a spectator at Wimbledon. I might not ever be lucky enough to visit, but I gotta bang out of his strawberry and cream advice.

http://tinyurl.com/2freb78

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 06/20/2010 at 03:42 PM

AF: I've posted that link on two other threads! AND he gives a shoutout to CNote on her Rafa "Committed" aritcle. It's chock full of good stuff this week.

Posted by CL 06/20/2010 at 03:43 PM

zenggi - thanks - what is the half moon shaped thingy on front of the 16m zone? And the goalie can use his hands OR feet to get it out of the zone?

Posted by ActionFlunky 06/20/2010 at 03:45 PM

AnnieVamos -- cool. Yeah, it's a few days old now, so I wondered if someone might've posted already. Ah well, redundancy is inevitable and not uncommon on these threads.

Posted by Ross (FOE) 06/20/2010 at 03:48 PM

Pspace--
You don't have to be good at skiing to have a great time; the views alone are worth it. It does help to be good enough to feed your delusions, of course.

Posted by CL 06/20/2010 at 03:50 PM

Action Flunky - thanks...that mailbag caused an even bigger dust up on the Mothership than the hair length debate. Not because of what El Jon said, but because the 'fan' who wrote in used the word 'disgusted' re Fed's play. Dude better check under his seat cushion for whoppee cushions and worse. One does NOT use the word 'disgusted' with the name Roger Federer in ANY context for some...many ...at the Mothership. They make the 'mama lions' looks like a bunch of puddy tats who have had their claws removed. ;-)

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 06/20/2010 at 03:50 PM

AF, no it's a good thing in case people missed it :) L.Jon really took it to that Fed fan who was "disgusted" with his play since AO. He was not amused.

Posted by CL 06/20/2010 at 03:53 PM

zenggi - EEKK!! Now I am even more confused. there are TWO rectangles in front of the goalie. Big one and a little one inside. Difference?

Brazil seem very good at this...lol...somewhere Guga is happy. Ooops...that was bad for the Brazilian player - can his name really be KaKa? Yes, I guess it can.

Posted by wilson75 06/20/2010 at 03:58 PM

CL:Kaka is his nickname, real name is ricardo

Posted by chicklet 06/20/2010 at 04:02 PM

Booo. Ivory Coast playing dirty now. No need to challenge with studs up.

Posted by ActionFlunky 06/20/2010 at 04:07 PM

CL -- did you get my apology regarding the Kiwis? It was you who asked the NZ (and Canada) question last week, correct? I simply overlooked them. Damn.

That's funny about the mothership. Yeah, rare that I get over there. Think the last time was to read about Fed's trip to Africa (and check the accompanying pics). And I honestly don't know if I've ever looked at the comments section, but I can imagine.

Posted by Sherlock 06/20/2010 at 04:13 PM

This is getting ridiculous. Between the flops and the chippy play, good grief. That last guy acted like he got shot. :)

Posted by chicklet 06/20/2010 at 04:14 PM

FIGHT! FIGHT!!!

Posted by ActionFlunky 06/20/2010 at 04:15 PM

"This is getting ridiculous. Between the flops and the chippy play, good grief. That last guy acted like he got shot. :)"

Sounds like an NBA game.

Posted by chicklet 06/20/2010 at 04:16 PM

Red card for Kaka! Can't play against Portugal now. CR9's prayers have been answered.

Posted by Sherlock 06/20/2010 at 04:16 PM

Jeepers, the Ivory player acted like Kaka punched him in the face, while the replay shows his head wasn't touched. :)

Posted by CL 06/20/2010 at 04:18 PM

AF - yeah...no worries... someone else came along and said NZ were playing..I have yet to see them play, but I did see an interview with their coach...didn't understand a word...lol...but he seemed very happy!

Comments section at the Mothership can be a wild ride...lots of major, often over the top, KAD-ing, but some real insightful tennis stuff as well.

Sherlock - really, these guys could give lessons to the Lakers. In the acting department. ;-)

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 06/20/2010 at 04:20 PM

CL: heehee, we both commented on the "disgusted" remark. :) Even L.Jon got his claws out! oh, and I love being a puddy tat - When these dustups at the Mothership happen, are they arguments between different fed fans ie those who like long hair vs. those who prefer short OR are the fed fans united in their wrath against the writer or entity that slighted TMF?


OMG OMG did you guys just see what happened in the Brazil Ivory Coast game??? KaKa just got thrown out because an IC player fell to the ground feigning being smacked in the face!!! Oh that player is going to go down-little does he know that the camera was RIGHT on him when he pulled his theatrics!!! this is like WWF!

Posted by CL 06/20/2010 at 04:20 PM

AF - hee...great minds, etc.

So that Brazilian guy who got the 2 yellow cards can't play in the next game? THAT sucks. Especially since his only crime seemed to be a lack of acting skill.

Posted by chicklet 06/20/2010 at 04:20 PM

Between Brazil's beautiful play, Drogba's late goal, the recent chippyness, and the red card, this game has been far more entertaining than I expected.

Posted by Sherlock 06/20/2010 at 04:21 PM

Indeed, CL. Maybe even some of the Lakers' fans, like Jack. :)

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 06/20/2010 at 04:22 PM

My son just said this kind of thing happens all the time. I didn't know this.

Posted by chicklet 06/20/2010 at 04:24 PM

CL - It does suck for him. It won't hurt Brazil much, but it's surprising to see Kaka sent off. He's usually a well behaved player, and he didn't deserve the second yellow.

Posted by Lurking 06/20/2010 at 04:25 PM

Obviously I disagree with most here and I'm a Brazilian Fan!!
Kaka deserved to be sent out. Regardless of whether the CIV player was over-acting, Kaka keeps doing foolish things and getting involved in situations which do not have anything to do with him! As far as I'm concerned, the referee did the right thing
Pardon me for the OT and the vent :)

Posted by zenggi 06/20/2010 at 04:25 PM

CL.
Are you also watching Brasil-Cameroon now?. Kaka is a headcase!. Why does he do such an stupid thing?

I forgot to add that the 16,5 m. rectangle is the biggest of the two marked areas.
That half moon thingy is for the goal keeper to use to take off with the kick as an airplane. He may not use his hands there.

Congratulations to Brasil, I guess. I don't understand why they have to use all sort of histrionics to win.

Posted by Lurking 06/20/2010 at 04:28 PM

It was Brazil vs Ivory Coast -not Cameroon

Posted by zenggi 06/20/2010 at 04:29 PM

Sorry, CL, I was watching the match.

Some info for you:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penalty_area
http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bestand:Football_pitch_metric.png

Posted by zenggi 06/20/2010 at 04:29 PM

Lurking, I stand corrected. Thanks.

Posted by CL 06/20/2010 at 04:30 PM

Annie - all of the above at the Mothership. Short hair vs. long hair but a majority who don't care if he goes with a crew cut as long as he plays well. Though I think if he went back to the ratty pony tail there would be serious fan revolt. And united in their disgust with 'disgust.'

I don't even understand the CLOCK in soccer. It seems to run randomly backwards and forwards, like something by Dali by way of Alice In Wonderland. No wonder this game hasn't fully caught on in the U.S. We are simple people.

Sherlock - maybe Jack gives little acting 'clinics' to the Lakers!?!

Posted by imjimmy 06/20/2010 at 04:30 PM

What poor referring. Don't they know the whole world was watching? Perhaps Dunga should've thought ahead and removed Kaka in advance. U gotta protect ure best player!

Meanwhile what a shocker by the Azzuri. A draw with NZ ..WTF?

Posted by thebigapple 06/20/2010 at 04:32 PM

The game was fun. Good to see Drogba score...poor dude is aplying with a broken hand. He is captain of the Ivory Coast and prolly the best attacking player on the field.

Hands are very important in this game...you use them to balance while you manipulate with your feet. This is the opposite of normal for humans - we usually balance with our feet and manipulate with our hands. This makes this sport truly special. Basketball, tennis, cricket...all the other ask the player to use the body in the everyday way. Not football/soccer - it inverts the human motion. Fabulous sport!

Lucio is a monster for Brazil, defensive leadership.

Kaka sending off was a laugh really. That IC guy was really acting it up.There will be complaining about that. However remember that football reflects life...mistakes happen. Also recall that the refereeing is more continous than we think. Kaka earlier had walked up and raised his knee against an IC player. He remained on the field. However, one more event in his general area and he was going to be sent off. Things pile up over the game.

USA also got a tough decision. But Clint Dempsey had been mixing it up all game. Eventually there was a fall involving him and the ref got tough. Unfortunate but refeering not completely incidental.

Posted by CL 06/20/2010 at 04:34 PM

zenggi - thanks and thanks... Now I envision the goal keeper as an airplane flapping his arms as he runs around his various sized enclosures. ;-)

zenggi and lurking...what exactly DID KaKa do? They kept showing the IC player doing the worlds' worst acting job, but not what KaKa did. (It is very odd to keep typing that name.)

Posted by Lurking 06/20/2010 at 04:34 PM

"I don't understand why they have to use all sort of histrionics to win"

I second this wholeheartedly!!!

Posted by thebigapple 06/20/2010 at 04:34 PM

Fabiano had a handball just before his second goal. Play should have been stopped.

Brazil looks good. Hexa!!!!!

France's team is having a nervous breakdown :)

Posted by Cupcake lurker- On a new chapter 06/20/2010 at 04:38 PM

thebidapple make that tow, both time hi use the hand, I get that the refs don't see one, but tow come on!

Posted by Lurking 06/20/2010 at 04:39 PM

I agree, the referees have been doing a poor job.
That said, Kaka deserved to be sent out -he had been warned! and intentionally elbowed an opponent away from the ball. How badly or not the other player was hurt, has nothing to do with it.
The player who didn't deserve to be sent out was the Australian player who got a red card without a warning and the way I saw it, Italy shouldn't have been given that penalty!!

Posted by Cupcake lurker- On a new chapter 06/20/2010 at 04:39 PM

*two

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 06/20/2010 at 04:41 PM

Good Morning Everyone,

Wow to New Zealand beating Italy??

I see still discussion with Roger and Rafa fans?

Well we all know who is Supreme dont we lol!

Roger and Rafa have great respect for another both on and off the court.

Oh Sherlock I am still hanging out for those Cherries

Posted by Cupcake lurker- On a new chapter 06/20/2010 at 04:41 PM

"I don't even understand the CLOCK in soccer. It seems to run randomly backwards and forwards"

CL- What????

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 06/20/2010 at 04:43 PM

Happy Fathers Day to all!

In Australia we celebrate Fathers Day in September

Posted by thebigapple 06/20/2010 at 04:45 PM

Yes, Italy did not really deserve that penalty due to the shirt pull and dramatic tumble. However if you recall - a shirt tug by Braziluan two world's cup ago got a penalty against them...some-one help me recall with whom? So Italy can say by strict rules, it is OK.

Posted by Lurking 06/20/2010 at 04:50 PM

The problem is that does 'strict' rules on penalties are not enforced. I've seen so much worse in this WC that has not been called. The way I see it and this was about favoring the favorite! I highly doubt had the score been reversed that NZ would have been given a penalty on a minor shirt pull!

Posted by thebigapple 06/20/2010 at 04:52 PM

Cupcake, yes. The ball hit his hand twice. Once below the elbow..deliberately...looked like a handball foul to me. The second one hit him above the elbow, perhaps the ref saw it as the shoulder.

We should also be careful on: (i) Ball to hand vs (ii) Hand to ball. If the ball hits the hand and the player was moving his body away from the ball then it is ball to hand. The player was try to avoid contact/was just hit by an unruly dumb ball. Happens sometimes and not really a foul. If the player was deliberately moving their body to the ball and using the hand in the play - that is definetly a foul. The first contact by Fabiano seemed to be handball!

Posted by Lurking 06/20/2010 at 04:52 PM

oops
does = those

Anyway, enough football talk from me.
Bring on Wimbledon and haweye already!!!!!!!! :))))

Posted by CL 06/20/2010 at 04:52 PM

Cupcake - yeah...sometimes they add time?... I thought that was something only the Supreme Being or Sir Ralph Richardson could do? And I look up and it says like 70 minutes and 5 minutes later the comms are talking about the game being almost over. ( I don't think it was edited, but maybe I missed that.)

lurking...well if KaKa had been kaka earlier that's a little different I guess, but really, in the clip i saw several times, he didn't elbow the guy..he just raised his arm a bit. Mostly he seemed puzzled by the fact that the IC player had deliberately sort of 'snuffled' in his hair and then fell down as if, as Sherlock said, he had been shot. Maybe KaKa uses EXTREME hair products. ;-)

Obviously lots of catch up for me in this game of soccer/football.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 06/20/2010 at 04:54 PM

the big apple There was a handball incident in the Aussie game with Kewell being sent off.He said he didnt do it on purpose it was a relex thing?

Posted by CL 06/20/2010 at 04:55 PM

BTW - TC is showing a 1995 DC match between Sampras and Kavelnikov. And as it turns out, there is precedence for Rafa's pajama shorts. Pete has on what really truly looks like cut off pj bottoms. with a hem.

Posted by thebigapple 06/20/2010 at 04:55 PM

What CL?

The whole world has been using backward running clocks since June 12.

Did you not adjust your clocks? Get with it!

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 06/20/2010 at 04:55 PM

CL lol! extreme hair products? gee I thought Verdasco only reign sumpreme with that.

Posted by Lurking 06/20/2010 at 04:56 PM

CL,
He did elbow the opponent. It wasn't a tap like the commetators kept saying. My coverage had replays from different angles and he DID elbow the guy. There is no way we can know if it was painful or not but this was another dumb move by him because there was no need, it was so uncalled for... but if you watch Kaka over time you realize that's Kaka for you.

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