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Bercy Diary: Dolls and Bunnies 11/11/2010 - 10:55 AM

Rod

by Gauloises, TW Contributing Writer

8.15 a.m. - While breakfasting on ham and madeleines, I contemplate the order of play. It’s a big day; the top seeds are playing their first matches, which means that many players we’ve watched and cheered for over the past few days will be running smack into the elite of the game. It’s going to be a day of tough choices about what to watch; there’s no time to waste.

10.35 a.m. - Waste valuable time being propositioned by the guy with one eye who hands out the free newspapers outside Bercy metro station.

11.03 a.m. - Through security (“for you, no problem!”) and wait outside the arena for a break in play. Roddick is serving for the set at 5-1 and it’s clear that as hungry as Nieminen appeared against Malisse, Roddick on a fast court is simply a class above. I pick up a copy of the OOP and realize Marin Cilic is playing Sergiy Stakhovsky on Court 1. Knowing Marin as I do, it’s clear his need will be greater.

11.11 a.m. - Settle into a mainly deserted Court 1. With the blue and green walls and various susurrations of machinery, it’s like being underwater. Cilic is facing break points right, left and centre in the second set. I watch and try to understand how, with all that game and his physical gifts, he isn’t a permanent fixture in the Top 10. The charitable interpretation is that he still has a way to go.

11.51 a.m. - The first gut-wrenching choice of a packed day’s play confronts me; to leave Cilic now seems tantamount to abandonment, but Roddick has just served out the match and Djokovic will be next on centre. The thought of Djokovic’s traditional Bercy entrance in a Halloween mask makes up my mind for me.

11.53 a.m. - The James Bond music and light show somehow doesn’t seem so inappropriate when the one being introduced is Djokovic.

11.55 a.m. - He’s not wearing a Halloween mask! I abandoned Cilic for this?!

12.10 p.m. - Monaco is hitting the ball exceptionally cleanly, absorbing and redirecting pace effortlessly. Djokovic, on the other hand, doesn’t look fully awake and his game as yet has no bite. It’s a predictable early break for Monaco, and we eat our first ficelles and settle in for a long match.

But part of being a champion is having the wherewithal to change the flow of play when the match isn’t going your way. Djokovic starts by attacking the net, forcing an edge of aggression into his play. Monaco is left stranded and looking ordinary, confronting the limitations of his game. The elderly French couple behind us are swiftly sighing ooh la la . . . after each point.

Match point comes and just like that, Monaco is leaving the court disregarded while Djokovic earns a huge roar of applause for speaking to the crowd in French. When he hits the ball into the stands, a white-haired gentlemen plucks it from the air in a neat disply of left-handed fielding, then hands it proudly to his teenage daughter. At least we hope she’s his daughter.

Andy 1.55 p.m. - Murray and Nalbandian are underway. We have a lovely view of Murray’s unbelievable defense, and a perfect one of Nalbandian’s sharp, lethal mid-court volleys. I abandon journalistic impartiality, resign myself to being publicly British, and give it some . . . C’mon Andy!

He doesn’t. He’s punching his strings, looking distinctly unhappy with life. I should be despairing, but I’m finding it impossible not to rejoice in Nalbandian’s stunning play, forehands into the corners as flat and precise as bullets, lobs on the run that seem laser-targeted. The Argentine is utterly in control.

The worst part about live tennis is how a favourite’s defeat can impact your day. My friend is rapidly descending into the blackest of moods while I try to persuade her there’s still hope. Murray follows in Djokovic’s footsteps by finding another gear to his game. He starts the second set with consecutive serve and volleys and makes the most of his own excellent net skills. At least he’s trying to do something different, I tell my friend. She grunts something unintelligible. There’s a reason that he’s good, I say to her (but mostly to myself). There’s a reason that he’s good.

3.00 p.m. - And there it is. Nalbandian’s level drops and Murray steals the second set out from under him. Having demonstrated that he can survive a period of less-than-spectacular play and still find himself well in the match, the momentum is always in his favour in the third set, and even a painful wrist can’t prevent him from reaching the next round. By the end, Nalbandian looks impotent and furious.

4.01 p.m. - I have finally found the secret smoking area by the river. My joy is tempered by the news that while I have been watching the tennis, Amelie Mauresmo has been in the press centre. Not all choices work out for the best.

4.13 p.m. - Rather than listen to the drums for Llodra, I decide to prove my theory that doubles on Court 2 is the hot ticket, opting for Ljubicic and Cilic against the Bryan brothers. Maybe I’m seeing them on an off day, but I’m not that impressed by the Bryans. All the while, the Croatians were more charimsatic. They alternate hitting eye-catching winners with ugly misses, and laugh with each other and their coaches.

The Bryans are poker-faced, communicating in monosyllables - “yeah?” “Right.” “Dude.” “Yeah.” But in the crucial moments, they summon their best play with the assurance that comes with the mastery of their craft.

The Croatians push them hard, but lose by the narrowest of margins in two tiebreak sets. As we leave the court, a Bryan says to me, “Thanks for watching,” with such sincerity that I take back at least half the negative things I’ve ever said about them.

5.58 p.m. The magic of live tennis. A match that you thought was going to be merely a pleasant way of passing the time becomes the most absorbing thing you’ve seen all day. David Ferrer and Fabio Fognini on a packed Court 1 are locked in a battle that’s compelling from the start, not least because of the similarities in their style of play.

Between points, Ferrer paces the baseline with grim determination, round-shouldered and never still; Fognini has a cocky strut, he's a Ken doll to Ferrer’s Energizer bunny. When a rally starts, however, they trade hammer blows from the baseline, running what seems like miles in a single point. They trade breaks, then split sets; Ferrer bellows in frustration like a wounded bull, while Fognini lets loose streams of Italian invective, helpfully translated and thus rendered unrepeatable by our acquaintance from Milan.

7.02 p.m. - Into a third set, and the spectators are leaving in droves to take their seats for Federer-Gasquet, but we and a few others are staying at our posts like the band on the Titanic.

Ferrer is still unable to read the Fognini serve or eliminate the unforced errors from his game, but he seems to play better—or at any rate run faster—the longer the match goes on. He throws himself bodily into his forehands so that his feet rise high above the surface. This is a player who makes his living punching above his weight, and attempting to out-Ferrer Ferrer can only take Fognini so far.

When match point comes and goes, it’s the Spaniard waving and basking in the fervent applause. The TV coverage might have cut away to more glamorous climes, and he doesn’t get the light show, but a different James Bond theme comes to mind—Nobody Does It Better. Ferrer may not be the best player in the world, but he’s proved once again that he’s the best at what he does.

8.13 p.m. - Still buzzing, we secure tickets for tomorrow—we haven’t had nearly enough of this—and take our seats on centre court. Federer already leads Gasquet by a set and a break, and despite the packed arena and hypnotic drum beat between points, there’s nothing here that can match the intensity of what we’ve just witnessed.

9.57 p.m. - Soderling has taken the first set without doing very much, and it’s obvious that the frisson has left the building for the day. We decide to do the same.

10.18 p.m. - Disembarking the metro at Chatelet, we’re accosted by an unsavory gentleman who persists in trying to set up a rendez-vous. So much for James Bond.

11.05 p.m. - Back to our tiny, rented apartment. And now, to write …


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Posted by thebigapple 11/11/2010 at 11:03 AM

First! How original of me!

Posted by thebigapple 11/11/2010 at 11:04 AM

Second!

How grown up of me!

Posted by thebigapple 11/11/2010 at 11:07 AM

Did I get that correctly?

Ferrer-Fogini was more intense and interesting than Federer playing a Frenchman in Paris to a background on beating drums...

No, let me re-read. I am misunderstanding. Surely.

Anyway, third! I am going to start getting my milk-teeth anytime now.

Posted by tina (ajde, Novak: handsome and talented Balkans #1, world #3, Davis Cup hero, AO 2008 titleist, reigning USO finalist, cutest butt in tennis, rapper, the face of Belgrade t-shirts, Novak water and Restaurant - don't u wish your polyglot was hott like me) 11/11/2010 at 11:16 AM

Are we moving match call to the new thread? I knew Llodra would be difficult, but still- Novak, you're losing major points this Fall, yikes :(

Posted by Master Ace 11/11/2010 at 11:21 AM

Tina,
Yes, this is the new thread for Bercy's match call.

Posted by Master Ace 11/11/2010 at 11:22 AM

Federer just extended his lead for number 2 by 910 points with Llodra's win at least.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 11/11/2010 at 11:24 AM

Gauloises: thanks for the LOL great read. I'm going to need to find a secret smoking place by the river in London btw..

Poor Nole! But Llodra played so frigging well. The french always play well at their home tourney. Inspired stuff from Llodra.

I'm predicting that alot of the guys who have already qualified for London are going to exit this tourney earlier than usual. Except for Fed. I think he's going to have this one in the bag.

Posted by Andrew 11/11/2010 at 11:29 AM

Hi gauloises! Great stuff: seems like you're creating a monster here....

I used to find that by about the fourth or fifth day at a tournament, I was just having a hard time processing what I was seeing - really good tennis on days 1 and 2 became ordinary, and you needed spectacular scraps or the really big guns to keep the interest up. It will be interesting to see if gauloises will hit a wall or just breeze through the tape.

Posted by Master Ace 11/11/2010 at 11:32 AM

Gauloises,
Good change up in reporting today. Keep up the good work. You should have given up taking a smoke break to catch Amelie. LOL.

Annie,
You know Federer has never made it to the semifinals at Bercy and if he gets past Stepanek, he has a tough matchup in Melzer, who will step his game up a notch especially after giving Federer fits at the USO.

Posted by Paul Ryan 11/11/2010 at 11:33 AM

Wait, isn't Federer locked to end the year higher than Djokovic rankings-wise? Haven't done the math for Murray, but as of RIGHT NOW with Djokovic losing, there's a 1700+ difference in Federer's favor. Even if the Swiss loses today and wins NO MATCHES in London and Djokovic wins in (+1500), wouldn't Federer still be ahead by 200 points?

Posted by BrooklynNY 11/11/2010 at 11:34 AM

Llodra is the what the game has been missing.

what a stud.

Posted by Andrew 11/11/2010 at 11:36 AM

Er..... BrooklynNY - you aren't an avatar of Brooklyn Decker, perchance? If so, that "what a stud" has an extra resonance.

Posted by tina (ajde, Novak: handsome and talented Balkans #1, world #3, Davis Cup hero, AO 2008 titleist, reigning USO finalist, cutest butt in tennis, rapper, the face of Belgrade t-shirts, Novak water and Restaurant - don't u wish your polyglot was hott like me) 11/11/2010 at 11:38 AM

Though I fear Novak potentially losing enough points to lose ranking ground to Murray, obviously it's all about Davis Cup at home.

Gauloises, you're doing a phenomenal job. And I love anyone who still admits to smoking!!

Posted by sf 11/11/2010 at 11:38 AM

oh i see where the action is now - haha!

off to read post now.

Posted by Paul Ryan 11/11/2010 at 11:39 AM

As for Murray... I think Federer just needs to get to the semifinals (not a given for this tournament) to clinch the #2 year-end ranking. Or at least reach 4th round/QF and win 1-2 matches in London. No?

Posted by Master Ace 11/11/2010 at 11:42 AM

Paul Ryan,
Djokovic is at 6035 while Federer will be at 7775. Both players and Murray received 400 pts from London last year. Therefore, Federer will be ahead by 240.
Now, if Murray was to win Paris, he will be at 6540 so we still will have a race for the number 2 spot. Saying that, the best Murray can end up at is 8040 which mean Federer will have to collect 265 more points and this can be obtained if he reaches the semifinals(270 for wins if he defeat Stepanek and Melzer).
This is per my calculations

Posted by freddy 11/11/2010 at 11:45 AM

What a match by Llodra!! Provoked a couple of thoughts:

1. Kind of confirms that slower court speeds all around (on HC and Wimbly) have a lot to do with the decline of S/V. Given a fast court like Bercy, a good Serve-and-Volleyer like Llodra matches up quite well with the best of the baseliners. Of course, Llodra played out of his mind through the match, but my point is if more courts were like this one, you'd have S/Vs winning a whole lot more...and if a really great one came along (with groundstrokes, mental strength & consistency), he's be a multi-Slammer.

I guess NP's being saying this all along, but this match just convinced me, where pure arguments didn't. Don't agree that Nole had an off-day - he was doing all right for a set and a half - just that Llodra didn't give him any rhyth.

2. This one's going to be controversial - I just hope it doesn't start another Fedal here - but I just had a new hypothesis on why the Fedal HTH is the way it is...it has to do with BP and BP conversions...

Across all players and matches, I'd guess that 30-40 BPs and Deuce-Ad BPs would be a large % of the total # of BPs (much more so than 15-40 or 0-40 BPs). On both 30-40 and Deuce-Ad, the left-handed player has a distinct advantage - he can use the can opener serve wide to the right-hander's backhand on the ad-court, opening up the court. For that matter, he can do it at 0-40 as well. The right-hander, on the other hand gets to serve the symmetrical wide serve to the lefty's backhand only on the 15-40 BPs. On the majority of break points, if the right hander has to go wide to the lefty's backhand, he has a much more difficult serve (the equivalent of the lefty serving wide to the righty's forehand on the deuce court).

All along, I've instinctively felt that lefties have an advantage - I usually thought it was because of the relatively higher proportion of righties on tour/ in juniors etc. Lefties get to play against righties far more than righties do against lefties, so there's always an element of surprise involved. However, as regards Fed and Nadal, I didn't think this logic was good enough - because surely the Fed had enough practice playing lefties and Nadal. However, the advantage that lefties have on BPs is too real to dismiss.

Long wondered about the close matches they've had, and Fed's inexplicable earning / losing BPs in those matches. I'm now thinking, given 2 all time greats, with proven skills and mental abilities, maybe its just this edge that makes the difference. I'm also aware that Rafa often goes down the T as opposed to going wide on the ad-court BPs, but its just the threat that's often enough, not the actual utilisation of the threat. This doesn't mean all lefties will always win - its when all else is equal, that it tips the scales.

I thought of this when watching Llodra recover from 0-40 in the 2nd Set. Was struck with how easily he did it - 3 times he went out wide, and there was nothing Nole could do.

Would love reasonable reactions / discussion to this thought. No wars please!

Posted by Master Ace 11/11/2010 at 11:56 AM

Freddy,
I thought that lefties have advantage at crucial points in a tennis match as right hand players do not often play them. On the WTA, Martina Navratilova validates your theory on serving wide then closing the net reducing a player chance to hit a passing shot return for a winner.

Posted by sf 11/11/2010 at 11:57 AM

SUSURRATION: a whispering sound : murmur

ok off to read more - juicy! flove the one-eyed lover!

Posted by Andrew 11/11/2010 at 11:59 AM

freddy: I ran the stats on the Federer/Nadal BPs vs conversions a while ago. I'm going by memory here, but the thing that jumped out at me was that in their matches the two players have gotten the same number of BPs, within margin of error, but Nadal converts at a significantly higher rate - something like 36% vs 29%.

I had thought that Federer would earn a few more BPs, but not so. The symmetry argument would, I think, mean that you'd see something different. It may be possible to build a Monte Carlo simulation model and check the outcomes of multiple thousand trials.

Posted by Paul Ryan 11/11/2010 at 12:01 PM

Thanks Master Ace!

So if Fed loses today, he'd need to win at least two matches in YEC or hope that Murray loses at least one match there. Cool.

Posted by x-fan 11/11/2010 at 12:02 PM

Ladyjulia,

If you are around, just acknowledging that I lost my end of the bet bright and early with Nole losing to someone I thought he was going to beat easily!

Annie,

Instead of looking for a secret smoking place you should be thinking about quiting :) (sorry for the lecture, us oldies can't help it!)

Posted by Kristy 11/11/2010 at 12:02 PM

Tremendous, gauloises! I love the things you comment on. And your dry wit is always right on target.

Love the photo of Andy R at the top. It captures his near-constant philosophy/demeanor of fingers-crossed, try-anything, just-go-for-it blind desperation. Not an attitude designed to give his fans confidence. But rock on, Andy R, and kudos for beating Gulbis.

Posted by tina (ajde, Novak: handsome and talented Balkans #1, world #3, Davis Cup hero, AO 2008 titleist, reigning USO finalist, cutest butt in tennis, rapper, the face of Belgrade t-shirts, Novak water and Restaurant - don't u wish your polyglot was hott like me) 11/11/2010 at 12:04 PM

Sure, it has long been mentioned that Lefties have a slight advantage when serving to the Ad court. This is where the Rightie, even the best returners, must develop near-genius at reading serves and predicting patterns. Agassi has had some excellent advice for returners facing lefty serves. But even he has said it's sometimes just a gut reaction.

Posted by x-fan 11/11/2010 at 12:06 PM

Oh and Gauloises, another great report.
LOL at your one-eyed propositioner :)

Posted by x-fan 11/11/2010 at 12:07 PM

Ok not LOL at 'him' but LOL at your funny comment

Posted by freddy 11/11/2010 at 12:10 PM

Andrew -

By my reasoning, the probability of a lefty saving a BP (i.e. 1 single point) should be higher. This will explain their diff BP conversion rates.

On the other hand, to get to a BP involves winning more than 1 point. Say 30-40 is most common, or Ad-Deuce. This involves playing 5 points (or 7). The righty has a marginal advantage on 3 out of 5 (or 4 out of 7). May not be enough to deliver significantly greater # of BPs, esp. considering he's returning. Overall the server's advantage would outweigh the marginal difference, if you see what I mean...

Also, if you factor in the importance of multi-deuce games as momentum changers (all of which involve multiple Ad court BPs saved), makes a big difference.

Good point on Martina, Master Ace. Guess John Mac would be another example.

Posted by freddy 11/11/2010 at 12:15 PM

Tina - yeah, I guess nothing new in my observation - am sure it's been discussed / commented on. Its just that I always thought any such advantage was offset by righties having a symmetrical advantage on the deuce court, so it evened out.

It doesn't even out because you always start serving on the deuce court, so BPs are mostly going to be on the ad court...that was my new realisation. New for me, that is :)

Posted by beth 11/11/2010 at 12:16 PM

another great report , Gauloises!

Llodra !!!! I can assume from his win that Forget has made his choice as to the number 2 singles spot for his team
all that remains now is who will be the alternate

Llodra played inspired tennis today - but I am sure that in front of a packed house in Serbia , it may be a bit different
This DC final is gonna be a good one !
I had forgotten the Nole won this event last year , shame he lost so early this time - I really have learned to like this guy - and I want him to do well .

Posted by Charles' 11/11/2010 at 12:20 PM

Andrew, I was surprised at how close the conversion% was so I did the math quickly and got Nadal's conversion to be 84/196 = 42,9%

and Federer's 65/193 = 33,7%. Still a bit closer than I thought, thats what being a Fed fan does to you I guess. ;)

Posted by Andrew 11/11/2010 at 12:27 PM

Charles, yup, working from memory the BPs gained/lost were in the high 190s - I thought Federer was maybe one ahead, but it wasn't significant. And Nadal did have a meaningful lead on conversions. No surprise to those of us who saw Federer go 1/17 in RG F 2007, or whatever it was....

Posted by beth 11/11/2010 at 12:30 PM

I suppose this should be left at the other post , but if folks are here , well I will say it here

about the languages, I am totally impressed with the ability of the European players to speak so well in so many different languages. And always embarassed that the American born players are lacking in this skill or even the willingness - Courier , Venus and Serena excepted - to even try to use a phrase or two of another language. I encouraged my kids to try to learn a second language and study abroad , Spanish being the most useful here in California .
But , that aside , what amazes me most - are the players that get the sense of humor in jokes outside their native tongue. Humor is very difficult to translate . And Federer totally gets it ! I really admire that about him - Nole too! It shows a total understanding of the words .
While Rafa , Richard and others have made great strides in their abilities to communicate in English , I still am not sure they get the jokes.

ok - back to tennis
Verdasco's loss elimates him from the Finals , right ?
so who are the last 3 in ? Ferrer? Roddick ? and ...

Posted by Mayes 11/11/2010 at 12:31 PM

I've heard rumors that the real reason behind Nadal's withdraw is that he learned that the court is very fast this year, and thought he has no chance. If it is true, which is a thought I see nothing wrong with, he could have spared his fans with another injury worry and his haters another chance of injury-excuse ethical argument.

Posted by GB 11/11/2010 at 12:33 PM

Yep, cause Rafa only plays tourneys he's sure he can win. He's always running from a challenge, that kid.

Posted by xyz 11/11/2010 at 12:34 PM

Nadal has to use injury excuse otherwise, he won't be allowed to play his one of his favorite Masters on clay next year.

Posted by freddy 11/11/2010 at 12:37 PM

ooh - Jana Novotna in the stands...Loved her game

Posted by jb - foops unite! 11/11/2010 at 12:40 PM

llllooodddrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaa! one of my favs! His style of play, when he's serving well and executing at net well, is incredibly dangerous. I watched him take out Berdy at the US Open, and he played great tennis. Berdy wasn't playing poorly, he just had no response for llodra's quickness and sure volleys.

Sigh, as much as its tough that Nole is out already, there's a reason why Bercy is so tough; end of season etc etc etc. Nole could prolly use the extra time before the WTF's I think.

it doesn't surprise me that he's out, but i DO think its a bit worrisome that both in basel and here he DF'd to give breaks away. That's not a good habit to get into right before Davis Cup. Let alone the WTF's.

Davis cup is going to kill me, isn't it? I love both teams, and watching either lose will just make me such a sad panda.

and as usual...

*standing ovation for gauloises diary of a mad tennis fan*

Posted by Tuulia 11/11/2010 at 12:51 PM

beth, Roger learned English at home, it's his mum's language, right? So I think it's hardly particularly amazing he gets humour in English well. I think it's comparable to Rafa getting humour in Spanish well.

Posted by beth 11/11/2010 at 12:57 PM

maybe so Tuulia , but I still think it is a pretty significant barometer for how well he understands the language .
I am not usually the biggest Roger fan here , so I am not heaping praise on him as a general rule
but I do think his fluency in multiple languages is a great gift . Wish I had that same
Was English the language he heard at home while he was growing up ? or was it Swiss German ? or both ? i understand that small children pick up languages very quickly , as opposed to us adults .

Posted by purplerain 11/11/2010 at 12:58 PM

Fantastic writing Gauloises, I'm loving your reports,you really get the atmosphere of the place.

GB Great reponse at 12.33!

Sorry to see Nole out so early but well done to Llodra.

Posted by sf 11/11/2010 at 12:58 PM

jb - foops unite!

well said about llodra's tricky game and gauloises' excellent (mad-lol) diary.

she is really treating us to a savory dish here lately.

(note to pete: don't worry, we are a faithful twibespeople, and we still love you, too! ;-)

Posted by beth 11/11/2010 at 12:59 PM

jb - as for Davis cup , in my usual fashion of choosing the dramatic headcase , I will be cheering for the French
They are the poster children of dramatic headcases with flair :)

Posted by Ruth 11/11/2010 at 01:07 PM

Mayes: As long as both Tours, not to mention most fans, tend to think that a player's saying, "I'd like to pass on this one,please" or "I'm really too worn out right now to give my best" is a crime against humanity, the illness and injury excuses that seem so questionable or specious will continue to be the rule in professional tennis.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/11/2010 at 01:16 PM

Gauloises Thanks again for a insightful piece of writing

Hmmm enough of the James Bond music for me please.

Posted by CWATC 11/11/2010 at 01:16 PM

beth,
regarding Fed's english, here's a summary of an old interview:
"His mother is from South Africa, and he said in inteviews this week that his first words were in English. And then he switched to German and kind of forgot English, and then went back to English."

i can relate as i grew up in the US but my mom spoke her native language (hebrew) to me as a young child as well, but that stopped when i was around 6 as i wanted to be a "normal" kid and not didn't want to speak a different language around my mom. i did study it in school tho' and can speak w/ my relatives at a fair, but not great level.

fed probably stopped speaking much english at home, but between schooling and his early exposure he was in good postion when he joined the tour and needed to use it w/ press, coaches, etc.

Posted by Tuulia 11/11/2010 at 01:17 PM

beth, I agree, it's a significant barometer. I only meant that I didn't see why you were so impressed in that particular case (a person understanding well humour in second language learned at home).

Posted by Jay 11/11/2010 at 01:17 PM

You are a born diarist, Gauloises.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/11/2010 at 01:19 PM

Beth I didnt see all of the Llodra match.I guess on current form he will be picked as the no 2 singles players.What are your thoughts with the doubles

Posted by Tuulia 11/11/2010 at 01:20 PM

CWATC, thanks that was interesting.

Posted by roadrunnerz 11/11/2010 at 01:21 PM

Being a fan, I'm usually cool with heaping praise on Fed, but as a fellow Swiss I have to agree; I don't think his trilingualism is a big deal.

Most non-anglophone tennis pros speak at least two languages, usually more. I think Nole's multilingualism is actually more impressive as he has a reasonable fluency in more languages than Fed.

Fed's French isn't perfect (I've seen native speakers, including friends of mine, mock his (and my) French) and, no, Swiss-German does not count as a fourth language!

Switzerland is a small country with four official languages and when you're living there you're exposed to at least three of them on a regular basis (on TV, radio, in print etc), plus most people need to learn English for business on top of that. I liked one poster's earlier comment that said those who are multilingual are those that have to be. It's true, in Europe, in order to get anywhere, you have to be. Fortunately, or unfortunately, in England or North America you don't have to be, hence why most anglophone tennis pros speak only the one language.

I do think it's cool that Fed takes the time to give pressers in more than one language, when it's something he probably doesn't HAVE to do.

Posted by roadrunnerz 11/11/2010 at 01:23 PM

And on an altogether different, note, very happy that Ferrer clinched a spot in London!

His one of my fave 'other' players, and I'm glad to see him doing well this year.

Posted by Tuulia 11/11/2010 at 01:25 PM

*applauds roadrunnerz*

Posted by Tuulia 11/11/2010 at 01:27 PM

Also thrilled for Ferru.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/11/2010 at 01:28 PM

Well personally speaking I think if possible its good to keep your native language.

Though coming to Australia where English is the lauguage spoken I feel its most essential to learn the language and also how to write it.

A lot of ederly people coming here found it difficult with the English language.I know this from talking to people that came to live here in Australia on a permanent basis.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/11/2010 at 01:32 PM

Tomas you know my feelings on t/breaks

Posted by Tuulia 11/11/2010 at 01:32 PM

AM, if they were already elderly at the time of moving and didn't speak it before, I'm sure it was really difficult.

Posted by naughty T....urbane gentleman 11/11/2010 at 01:34 PM

madeleines and ham... breakfast of champions. No wonder your memories of the day are so Proustian in their insight and wit.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/11/2010 at 01:34 PM

Tuulia Indeed.I personally found the English language hard myself I was only 10 yrs old lol!

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/11/2010 at 01:35 PM

Koyla won the t/break and they are going to a 3rd set

Posted by roadrunnerz 11/11/2010 at 01:36 PM

And we have a third set...goooo Nikolay!!! (admittedly only because I have you pegged for the finals in my atp challenge bracket...)

Posted by Tuulia 11/11/2010 at 01:40 PM

Oh, and one should always keep one's native tongue.

This channel I'm paying for to get live tennis used to be pretty good. Not anymore. They'll losing my subscription for sure... They now have some NFL stuff. That's as interesting as cycling that the other morons Eurosport (which I at least don't have to pay for) often choose to show instead of tennis.

Posted by sokol 11/11/2010 at 01:41 PM

"my mom spoke her native language (hebrew) to me as a young child as well, but that stopped when i was around 6 as i wanted to be a "normal" kid and not didn't want to speak a different language"

CWATC, that's what happened to my older son. My husband and I were speaking our native language (mix of Ukranian and Russian), and my son spoke Russian until he was 5 and went to school. Then he wanted to become "normal", as he said that none of his friends speak Russian, why he has to? He cried and cried and refuse to answer in Russian and we gave in... unfortunately

"A lot of ederly people coming here found it difficult with the English language.I know this from talking to people that came to live here in Australia on a permanent basis."

AM, that's often problem with elderly immigrants. My in-laws came in US 21 years ago and they don't speak English, can understand maybe 30-40 most used words, but that's about it. Even though I can understand it's hard after 50 to learn new language, still... But what bothers me more when relatively young people come to another country to live permanently in and don't make an effort to learn the language, have a brother-in-law like that, came in US 15 years ago when he was 30 and doesn't speak English, understands third maybe of what he hears, but doesn't speak

Posted by sokol 11/11/2010 at 01:42 PM

HA, Nikolay takes the second set, I'm shocked. I thought he'll lose it for sure.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/11/2010 at 01:45 PM

sokol I agree with your thoughts.I feel its easier to learn another language when your younger.Even as children they learn languages easy.

Though as I said before if you are going to make another country your permanent home I think learning their language is most essential

Posted by Tuulia 11/11/2010 at 01:49 PM

AM, 10 is still a good age to learn a new language. - Hey btw, last week I tried if managing to read Marca suggests one might also manage something like La Sombra del Viento by Carlos Ruíz Zafón. The answer - not surprisingly - is no, lol. *sigh* Maybe just about manage, yes, but one would lose a massive part of the literary delight, plus it would take ages to get through some 650 pages. I read the translation instead. Enjoyed the book.

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/11/2010 at 01:50 PM

ok this is just ball bashing at its most modernly deadly and boring ...bash, error, winner, bash, eh... anyway, i didnt see Monfils yet, is he still styling that tragique headband and shall we say 'look' he debuted in Japan? please say no!

Posted by sokol 11/11/2010 at 01:50 PM

"if you are going to make another country your permanent home I think learning their language is most essential"

agree

Posted by Andrew 11/11/2010 at 01:51 PM

Berdych-Davydenko has been quite a scrap. Davydenko now with the momentum, up a break in the third, after Berdych was two points from victory in the TB.

An abiding memory I have is taking a trip around Europe when I was 19 (I celebrated my 19th birthday at the Heineken brewery in Amsterdam). On the boat to Holland, I thought I'd try my hand at learning a few Dutch words, and possibly get to know a pretty Dutch girl. She taught me about ten words (and we had no closer contact), but as soon as I got to Amsterdam I realized that it was pointless trying to speak Dutch, as everyone had excellent English. In a MacDonalds, I saw a teenager serving customers in four different languages.

Language proficiency is partly exposure, but it's also interest, I think. You learn a lot about people by being able to speak and understand their language. Playing chess in Cairo cafes, or making vodka toasts - there's lots of opportunities.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/11/2010 at 01:51 PM

Tuulia I agree.Sometimes reading the translation is the way to go lol!

Posted by sokol 11/11/2010 at 01:52 PM

it's funny that on the Russian forum fans calling Davydenko- The Heel :-)

Posted by roadrunnerz 11/11/2010 at 01:53 PM

Oy. Tomas self-combusting out there.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/11/2010 at 01:53 PM

Kolya 4-0 in rhe 3rd set

Sokol will be happy

Irina with her hair up looking lovely as ever

Posted by wilson75 11/11/2010 at 01:54 PM

Berdych is struggling badly. I'm sure he's kinda wishing his season was finishing today instead of next 2 weeks. I wouldn't be surprised if he goes out 0-3 in London.

Posted by zenggi 11/11/2010 at 01:54 PM

Move over, Helen Fielding, Gauloises is in town! Thank you again.
I'm running out of praises for your articles. :)

Not such a big surprise that Llodra won today. I love his game. And Novak was already tired in Basel. Better to save his energy for DC and London.

Melzer is having a Nalbandian like run this autumn. Good for him.

Come on, Kolya. Win this match. Roger has to play.

Posted by sokol 11/11/2010 at 01:55 PM

AM, I actually didn't expect much from Kolya, total surprise.

I think if Kolya wins it would be good for both. Kolya needs couple big wins at the end of a bad season to give him some confidence going into 2011 and Tomas needs to rest before the FTW

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/11/2010 at 01:58 PM

Tomas I just despair of you at times

Honestly where is Bissy I need to unlesh my anger on him lol!

After his first match I thought Tomas had turned the corner again

Though good to see Kolya winning I love his game on the hard courts.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/11/2010 at 01:59 PM

Koyla will give Tomas a bagel in the 3rd with 3 match points

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/11/2010 at 02:00 PM

Indeed he did

Congrats to Kolya and see sokol he did surprise you lol!

Posted by wilson75 11/11/2010 at 02:01 PM

AM: Serra wasn't a good barometer to determine whether Berdych had turned the corner.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/11/2010 at 02:01 PM

Tomas go to London and find you head

You went AWOL in the 3rd set

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/11/2010 at 02:02 PM

wilson75 I know I just needed something to cling onto lol!

Posted by Arun 11/11/2010 at 02:03 PM

http://oi53.tinypic.com/2hxasrn.jpg

PS: Weak-hearted please refrain from clicking the link.

Posted by Master Ace 11/11/2010 at 02:05 PM

Arun,
Tomas mind and game went to London after losing the TB.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/11/2010 at 02:05 PM

Hmmm Arun I thought it was a picture Mirka and one of her Fab Bags

Thanks for the disappointment

Posted by wilson75 11/11/2010 at 02:07 PM

AM: I'm not a Berdych fan but I did feel for him when he left the court a few minutes ago. He looked really sad. For sure, his confidence must be very low and to go to London feeling like that will be very tough.

Posted by Arun 11/11/2010 at 02:07 PM

Master Ace: I hope he can step up his game in London.
Looks like he is back to playing how he did (or worse than that) before this year

Sorry, AM. :)

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/11/2010 at 02:09 PM

wilson75 I dont know what happened to Tomas after making the final of Wimby this year.He has lost it again.Maybe the expectation of him was too much.I dont know just clutching at straws I guess.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/11/2010 at 02:10 PM

Arun Hmmm.

Posted by wilson75 11/11/2010 at 02:13 PM

AM: I think he can't play at the level was this summer for an entire season and that's why he's struggling.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/11/2010 at 02:16 PM

wilson75 probably right there.

Posted by zenggi 11/11/2010 at 02:17 PM

Andrew,
I know lots of foreigners who live in the Netherlands for a number of years (some up till 20 years) and they cannot speak more than a few sentences in Dutch. On the other hand, we provide to all the foreigners and refugees who come to stay free Dutch and integration lessons. Our TV shows everything in original language with subtitles and we have access to hundreds of TV channels.

Vamos, Rogelio. Let's have some fun with this "old-fashion" style match.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/11/2010 at 02:22 PM

Hell The Worm with that insane tee on

I mean who on earth would wear such a thing

Of course the James Bond music is pumping in the back ground

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/11/2010 at 02:23 PM

Okay Roger a quick game is always a good game

Posted by zenggi 11/11/2010 at 02:27 PM

Question to the experts. Will Melzer be tired tomorrow? Just asking.

Roger chooses to serve.

You have to give credit to the French. They create drama of a net.

Posted by Vie 11/11/2010 at 02:33 PM

Re the sense of humor thing, well there's 2 sides to it, understanding humor and delivering it. Rafa can be funny and has good delivery and timing with humor even using English.

Posted by wilson75 11/11/2010 at 02:33 PM

zenggi: Why would Melzer be tired tomorrow? I'm sure he will be trying to win the tournament as he has a chance to finish the year in the top 10 if he does. He has a lot confidence right now having beaten Nadal and playing Roger close, the last time they played.

Posted by Svizzera 11/11/2010 at 02:37 PM

Berdych has not just left the building in anticipation of London, he has not even turned up to work since Wimbledon. It is a shame that someone who hit a rich vein of form in the spring should be in London instead of a player like Melzer, who does not just give up on a match, but fights back (Djokovic at RG, Troicki at Wimbledon).

As for multilingualism, it opens so many doors that it should not be just for those who need to use more than one language. Having attended an international school, we were forced to take classes in English, French and German, and it has been invaluable since.

Posted by beth 11/11/2010 at 02:37 PM

ok then , I won't bother to be impressed with Roger's multilingual capabilities
clearly he is not as gifted as I thought :)

Tim - Monfils has decided to abandon the braided / headband hairstyle he sported in Japan. Thank goodness for small favors !

AM - Llodra was quite effective today - and played a brilliant and inspired match . Clearly at the moment he deserves that second singles spot for the French team . Now , they to pick an alternate between Simon and Gasquet - just in case he is too tired to go out on the Sunday .

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/11/2010 at 02:43 PM

Beth I also believe he deserves the singles spot.Just thinking about the doubles thats all.I also think Llodra winning today good confidence in the up coming DC final

Posted by zenggi 11/11/2010 at 02:44 PM

wilson 75,
It's more like "wishful thinking", you know. Just checking how Roger's next opponent fares. Of course, assuming that Roger wins against Stepanek.

I wish Radek would get rid of that shirt. On serve 2-1 Roger.

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