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Rock Stars For a Week 11/25/2010 - 11:38 PM

Bb by Hannah Wilks, TennisWorld Contributing Writer

Numbers are a big part of any tennis fan's life, and there’s always a day at the year-end championship when the numbers take centre stage. Last year, Andy Murray was denied a place in the semifinals by an abstract mathematical calculation, a del Potro second-serve ace and a Hawkeye challenge; a matter of millimetres and the progress of the championships was altered. This year, Murray is ranked No. 5 and back at the O2 among the elite; del Potro, last year’s finalist, played six matches in 2010 and is currently ranked No. 262 due to the vagaries of injury. Sometimes numbers do tell the whole story.

It’s clear today that the organizers here at the ATP World Tour Finals have learned from the embarrassments of last year. Everywhere, the big screens flash group standings and qualification scenarios for the crowds; the media are handed briefing notes updating the latest outcomes and possibilities at regular intervals. Permutations and probabilities are bandied back and forth at the bar, on the stairs, in whispers inside the arena. It starts to feel like a drinking game (sponsored by Corona, of course)Soderling took it to a tiebreak: two fingers! Murray won more than four games in a set: down in one!

As it turns out, however, everybody might as well have left their calculators at home, as the Group B progressions were settled by the simplest of eventualities; Roger Federer defeated Robin Soderling 7-6 (5), 6-3 in a majestic defensive display, leaving himself in solitary state as the first player to qualify for the semifinals. The Swede is eliminated from contention and heading home for the holidays, with the second semifinal spot to be decided between Andy Murray and David Ferrer. The consensus is that Murray has to win a set, or win a minimum of seven games in losing. It sounds simple, but when is anything with the Scot ever as straightforward as it should be?

It turns out you can’t even depend on Murray to be undependable. He starts off in woeful fashion by losing serve, but before anyone can hunker down for a long night, he recovers and doesn’t look back, winning not just the first set but the second to book his semifinal spot. David Ferrer leaves London without winning a match, Murray gets to experience a semifinal Saturday at the O2, and everyone’s left with rather an anticlimactic feeling.

But the most interesting numbers of the day for me are the ones that come up in the Bryan brothers’ press conference, after the twins have sealed their qualification for the semifinals by beating Lukas Dlouhy and Leander Paes in straight sets, afterwards being presented with the ATP fans’ favorite award. Their numbers in 2010 tell their own story: two Grand Slams, in Melbourne and New York. Their 600th match win in Delray Beach. The sixth time they have finished the year ranked No. 1. Their 62nd championship win in L.A., surpassing the all-time career titles record. Those are GOAT numbers, even if they have to be marginally qualified with the insertion of' 'team.'

Having accomplished all of this, there’s a sad inevitability to the main thrust of the questionsthe health of the doubles game. Usually, it’s the aging of the viewer demographic that is the concern, not the participants. But the average age of the players in this year’s draw is 32, as opposed to 26 in the singles; the youngest player in the doubles draw is the 26-year-old Philipp Petzchner, a relative baby next to 39-year-old Dick Norman. The oldest player in the singles is Federer at 29 and the draw includes two 23-year-olds, Murray and Djokovic. A Bryan (I can’t tell them apart when they’re not holding their racquets) acknowledges the problem: These 20 guys are the same guys we’ve been playing against for the last 10 years. We’re all still at the top of the game. There aren’t a lot of guys breaking through. It’s being repopulated by singles players. It used to be the Top 50 guys used to have two or three singles players in it. Now it’s half and half.

Think about that for a minute. Then name, if you can, one successful doubles specialist who is under 25 and who promises much for the future. It’s easy to dismiss doubles, an attitude that I’ve been guilty of myself; it’s an opportunity to see more of your favourite singles players, perhaps, or a way to kill time while you’re waiting for some real action to begin. I’ve had the opportunity this week to watch the best playing the best, and yet until today, the most attention I’ve paid to the top seeds is to enjoy the slo-mo replay of Mike getting hit in the back of the head with Bob’s serve. Or possibly the other way around.

Doubles doesn’t just require discipline; it is a discipline. Jurgen Melzer, No. 11 in the world, teamed with a solid singles player in Petzchner, still found himself eliminated today by Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski. Nobody’s going to stop the latter team in the street, but they are masters of their sport and the specific skills it rewards. Power from the baseline can accomplish much, but it can still be rendered impotent by the cool head and practiced hands required to finish a point at the net. How different might today’s singles results have been had Robin Soderling had the split-second confidence to put away Federer’s high, floating ball?

It may all too often be treated as an encumbrance at worst, a consolation prize at bestnot a lot of kids growing up wanting to be the best in the world in doubles, as even said best players admitbut if doubles as an end in itself dies, to be replaced by singles players supplementing their incomes and match play, something will be lost. Not just the particular skills of serve and volley, familiarity and precision at net, but a sport that rewards eccentricity and uniqueness, the coming together of two players that separately would have been very ordinary to become something greater than the sum of their parts.

Any commenter or commentator is familiar with those who lament tennis’ increasing homogeneity; they should watch more doubles. Yesterday, a day that saw public complaints from one singles player about the time his opponent was taking in order to be physically able to continue the match, I witnessed Max Miyrni bending down to the ground to chat to his partner Mahesh Bhupathi while he received medical attention, folding his angular limbs to put their heads close together. Their opponents, meanwhile, the soon-to-split Nestor and Zimonjic, were as far apart as two players could be, Nestor slumping in a chair shrouded in towels while Zimonjic took energetic practice swings at the far end of the court. Talk about the range of human experience. And today, I’m listening to two people I’ve often derided talk with warmth and a total lack of self-pity about the senescence of the sport they have dedicated their life to, the sport that has made them extraordinary. 

That at least is one thing that the World Tour Finals has going for it, despite the occasional limpness of the round-robin format. I haven’t seen the arena less than two-thirds full for a doubles match this week; they’ve been cheered, slow-clapped, bemoaned, had their names chanted. There’s nothing like it, a Bryan says; when you have intros, smoke, lights, music, you have goosebumps … We feel like rock stars.

To be treated like stars one week out of fifty-two isn’t the best ratio, but for a team who have broken the greatest of records, it’s a lot better than none.


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Posted by Andrew 11/26/2010 at 04:25 PM

Roddick moving about as well as I do on ice, when I'm not wearing ice skates. Or, come to think of it, when I am. Djokovic closes out the match 54/39, or 58% to 42%. Clean kill.

Commiserations to Roddick fans. Up a set and a break in match 1, and a MB up in the set 2 TB, two SPs vs Berdych - those might be worth remembering. Today, not so much. Roddick's usually brought a blue collar, clock in, do my job attitude: today he seemed bone weary.

I'd wondered if Djokovic would be up for the WTFs, and I think he's answered that question pretty well. All to play for on Saturday. The Big 4 will be ready to rumble.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 04:27 PM

izidane I agree good serving from Novak.Glad to see his eye ok.No pun intended there ok lol!

Posted by CL 11/26/2010 at 04:27 PM

Lynne - have you started the new Bill Bryson book yet?

Posted by TMFunk 11/26/2010 at 04:27 PM

I hope Fed gets his USO revenge...Go Fed!

Posted by AB 11/26/2010 at 04:31 PM

Congrats to Novak, commies to RAndy.

I think from what I've seen so far, the tournament venue has been least beneficial to:

* Ferrer - his quickness and stamina are neutralized because slower oppos get more time / he cannot hit through this court while his oppos with more power can hit through it/ no weather conditions
* Roddick - his fast play is slowed down, not as many free points off serve/ no weather conditions
* Nadal - low bounce takes away his timing *and* doesn't amplify his topspin/ no weather conditions

Most beneficial to:

* Berdych - gets to more balls, no weather conditions
* Soderling - gets to more balls, more time to swing/no weather conditions
* Murray - can retrieve all day/ no weather conditions

Neutral:

* Federer - well he is TMF against everyone not named Nadal
* Djokovic - the "Perfect Tennis Player"

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 11/26/2010 at 04:32 PM

CL : No, I've had to limit my reading just lately, so much going on. But I'm looking forward to getting down to it early in the new year.

Posted by CL 11/26/2010 at 04:34 PM

Lynne - I think you'll love it...typical, (in a good way) Bill - make you laugh and feel smarter at the same time. Hope things calm down and get better for you soon. :-)

Posted by CWATC 11/26/2010 at 04:34 PM

Well, I feel badly for people with tickets to that one.
Amazing that there was only one three set RR match this year.

Since Djoko got such a light workout, any chance at all that the schedulers will put him and Roger on first, pretty pls??

Nahh. They'll have to play the late match tomorrow and the winner to play the final w/ under 24 hrs rest. Boo.

Posted by Andrew 11/26/2010 at 04:35 PM

This is NOT from a fan's or KAD's standpoint, but if I were the TD, the order in which I'd prefer to see the final would be

Federer-Nadal> Federer-Murray> Djokovic-Murray > Djokovic-Nadal. In other words, I think Federer's more popular than Djokovic, and a Fedal final at the WTF would be a blockbuster, but in London Murray would also be a popular finalist. If Djokovic is through, I'd prefer the home town draw.

What do others think? Try to respond without automatically saying something like "I like X, so the TD would want them in the final."

Posted by Andrew 11/26/2010 at 04:39 PM

In other news, Roddick served at 62%, 63%, and 60% first serve percentage in his matches. I think something may be up. He's a 69% server for the year, which is normally where I'd expect to see his stats.

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) 11/26/2010 at 04:41 PM

Even though my cousins have Tennis Channel, and I repeatedly said my goodbyes, I missed this entire match. (Silly me for helping my cousin Jenny in the kitchen instead of driving home to watch - they were in college football mode over there) I wish I'd seen it, but not surprised at the outcome. I shall not leave the house tomorrow, that's for sure!

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 11/26/2010 at 04:42 PM

CL : Too many things going on but in a good way. Yes, I find Bill hilarious !

And, may I say I've finished my Christmas shopping ! If that sounds a little boastful ... well, it's a first for me before November is through.

Posted by x-fan 11/26/2010 at 04:42 PM

I would put Federer-Murray first or closely tied to Federer-Nadal but the rest sound right to me.

Posted by CL 11/26/2010 at 04:42 PM

Andrew - from the TD's view, that sounds about right... supposing of course they can't re-animate Fred Perry. A Perry/Muzz finals takes the Hot Cross Buns.

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) 11/26/2010 at 04:43 PM

And my vote would go to a Djokovic-Murray final, just for the hell of it.

Posted by CL 11/26/2010 at 04:45 PM

Lynne - oh good...thought I read that you were going through some tough times...glad I was wrong. Yeah, Bill doesn't disappoint this time around.

That is VERY wicked of you too have finished you shopping so early. Wicked good and just plain wicked. ;-)

Posted by CWATC 11/26/2010 at 04:47 PM

(quick response to mirk0337: if a player's ball is called out and he challenges and the ball turns out to be in, the point is not automatically replayed. if the opponant failed to return the ball into play, the umpire needs to decide whether the "out" called hindered the opponant's shot; if there was no hindrance, the challenging player wins the point outright)

Agree with your order, Andrew.

Really wish Rog didn't have to play the Djoker yet again. Worried that a)the djoker is due for a win; b) he'll tire out Rog even in a losing effort; those 2 always play long tough rallies and I expect that even more on this slow court.

Why, Andy R., why????

OK, enough whining; off to find some late-night bargains -

Posted by TMFunk 11/26/2010 at 04:48 PM

I'd agree with you from a TD standpoint, but personally I'd love to see a Fed-Murray final with a straight-set win for Federer. It would be very cool for this Fed fan to see the season end exactly as it began with the AO :)

Posted by TMFunk 11/26/2010 at 04:48 PM

I'd agree with you from a TD standpoint, but personally I'd love to see a Fed-Murray final with a straight-set win for Federer. It would be very cool for this Fed fan to see the season end exactly as it began with the AO :)

Posted by izidane-It's t-shirt tyyyyyyyyyme! Nole face/hawk shirt on. 11/26/2010 at 04:50 PM

AM, Lol.
I declare the eyepatch a good luck charm from now on for the WTFs. That last service game was from 0-30 was telling, and he knew it at 40-30 when he let out that yell. Really nice to see. The months of DFing matches away left a mark on my psyche.

Posted by Texastennis 11/26/2010 at 04:54 PM

Heather, I'm thinking (in the spirit of the season) we need a philosophical repositioning here a this stage of Andy's career. Less frustration about the losses or the way he's playing and more isn't it amazing hes still in the top 10 and made the WTF after the last few months:-)

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 04:54 PM

izidane lol! Nole with or without the eye patch was playing well tonight and deserved his win.

Posted by Kristy 11/26/2010 at 05:01 PM

Pffft. Well, I guess I'm glad I missed that.

He didn't feel like fighting at all?

Sadness. I do see the positives y'all are mentioning, but I'm mystified why his game has slid backwards from the improvements of 2009.

Posted by Hot Shot 11/26/2010 at 05:07 PM

From what I've seen, I think Nadal has a great chance to win this tournament. His play has improved with each match. I really like his new cross-court low angle return. His slice back hand also looks to have improved; or he hit it well in the match against Tomas.

Posted by izidane-It's t-shirt tyyyyyyyyyme! Nole face/hawk shirt on. 11/26/2010 at 05:11 PM

Kristy, take heart.
Andy looks fine physically, it seems all mental to me. This break should be good for him just to get away from it all. I think we'll see a better player in Oz. He just looked out of ideas until the very last game, he's been down and out before...I'm hoping he'll find a way again.

And I'm finally giving black Friday a chance, should be some crazy tennis tomorrow.
Later.

Posted by AB 11/26/2010 at 05:11 PM

RAndy probed and prodded, but he couldn't poke any holes in Nole's defense and Nole looked pretty relaxed as One-Eyed Djoker, serving himself out of trouble and painting lines.

I didn't realize the H2H was so skewed to RAndy, but Nole was the Forgotten Man in the Top 3 until he put it together to make the USO final. His 2009 was not remarkable (for him) and he was very patchy early this year.

Both players' games depend on a low UFE count and hitting many balls from the baseline. Roddick had many UFEs but again, I credit Nole with greater court craft and a more stinging FH and BH.

Roddick had no answer.

Posted by Heather 11/26/2010 at 05:11 PM

Agreed, TT. :) Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving!

Posted by Master Ace 11/26/2010 at 05:21 PM

Saturday Order of Play from London:

Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan vs Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic at 7:15 AM
Rafael Nadal(70-9; 10-4) vs Andy Murray(46-17; 7-4) at 9 AM
Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski vs Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi at 1:15 PM
Novak Djokovic(59-17; 4-7) vs Roger Federer(63-13; 14-6) at 3 PM

Sunday Order of Play from London:
Doubles Final at 10:30 AM
Singles Final at 12:30 PM

Posted by Or 11/26/2010 at 05:25 PM

Hello all,

Well, the only thing interesting about today's matches was Rafa's outburst, first time I've seen him reacting quite like that.. can't wait to read your comments. In the arena, I thought he was right, but I didn't realize he was the one calling 'out' and stopping the point. Sometimes you miss the commentators, even when you are watching live.

Posted by Kristy 11/26/2010 at 05:27 PM

Thanks, izidane. RAndy's problem does seem to be mental. I hope he can figure something out in Austin.

Posted by Grant 11/26/2010 at 05:29 PM

"Sometimes you miss the commentators"

which is why i'm buying a sniper rifle

Posted by Master Ace 11/26/2010 at 05:30 PM

Saturday Order of Play from London:

Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan vs Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic at 7:15 AM
Rafael Nadal(70-9; 10-4) vs Andy Murray(46-17; 7-4) at 9 AM
Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski vs Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi at 1:15 PM
Novak Djokovic(59-17; 4-7) vs Roger Federer(63-13; 14-6) at 3 PM

Sunday Order of Play from London:
Doubles Final at 10:30 AM
Singles Final at 12:30 PM

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 05:32 PM

Grant LOL!

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 05:37 PM

Well Rafa could get his "hat trick" in tomorrows match with Murray

I am sure all eyes will be glued to that match to see if he indeed completes his "hat trick" of outbursts with Umpires.

Posted by Or 11/26/2010 at 05:38 PM

Andrew -

If not Fedal, I think Djoko-Murray is the most refreshing choice. I'd love to see them play a final again, been a long while.

But, please, not this tournament....

Posted by Grant 11/26/2010 at 05:42 PM

"I am sure all eyes will be glued to that match to see if he indeed completes his "hat trick" of outbursts with Umpires."

I hope he does - it makes the WTF look less like an expo or the last day of school, and more like a tournament the players really care about.

Posted by AB 11/26/2010 at 05:44 PM

I'm with Or - 1st choice Fedal, 2nd Murray v Djokovic.

Most importantly, I would like the SFs and F to go 3 sets and be highly competitive, tight matches.

Yay, tennis!

Posted by Tuulia 11/26/2010 at 05:47 PM

Or, Rafa didn't call out, the umpire did, since there had been no call, and I don't really understand why the point wasn't replayed - Rafa had returned it in, but oh well. My commentator at the time was siding with Carlos, a lot of other people commenting have agreed with Rafa's view. Personally I'm left confused, but I don't care much since Rafa held his serve anyway, and played well in general after the incident. Also Rafa wasn't rude when complaining, and all is fine with him and Carlos judging by the smiles aftrrwards. No harm in the end.


AM lol about hat trick

Posted by thebigapple 11/26/2010 at 05:47 PM

I really feel that statement that the only thing interesting at the Rafa match was the outburst. I did not see the match. Missed the incident.

But I am still sore about the trip I made to the French Open and saw Rafa play. There was no outburst...so nothing interesting. Grinding. Grinding. I still am hoping Rafa or one of his fans will give me my money back. It is enough that I lost the time I could have spent in the hotel watching paint dry, grass grow etc, etc,.

Posted by thebigapple 11/26/2010 at 05:48 PM

Grant, Lol!

Posted by Tuulia 11/26/2010 at 05:52 PM

thebigapple - you must have stayed at a peculiar hotel... ugh... couldn't you just ask for your money back for the hotel room if there was grass growing and newly painted, still wet walls? Sounds uncomfortable.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 05:52 PM

I feel Rafa needs to do another video with that Latin Diva that cant sing for quids

Maybe he needs to be with more "colm"

Whatever

hell I dont believe I just said or typed that but there you go

Like I have been up since 1.00am in the morning and the drugs Dont Work Anymore!

Posted by Jackie 11/26/2010 at 05:54 PM

Are you guys up for a Deuce Club? Got something short planned, but didn't know if you'd rather just talk about tennis, or get on with your holiday weekend plans...

Posted by Master Ace 11/26/2010 at 05:55 PM

Holds 2 Love,
Yes, I am too busy with a game they call The Iron Bowl where
Auburn has rallied from 24 to lead 28-27 with 5:36 to go in 4th quarter

Posted by thebigapple 11/26/2010 at 05:56 PM

Fed/Nadal would be interesting. However since Nadal has a structural advantage, the end would likely be in keeping with the H2H.

Murray/Nole would be nice too. Murray/Nole would be the fresher combination...neither have won a major this year and it would be nice to see one of them get something biggish at year end. (Nole in particular since I irrationally dislike Mandy.)

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 06:00 PM

Federer v Rafa of course

Posted by thebigapple 11/26/2010 at 06:01 PM

Tuulia, that week in Paris nearly all the hotels were full. All the usual suspects with which my firm has corporate arrangements were chock full. My assistant hunted for a long time. I ended up staying close to the Opera house in a chain hotel that was being refurbished. Half the floors were under reconstruction and the lobby was in scaffolding. When I drove up in the cab, it was a bit unclear how to enter. So yes, I could literally have gone two floors up and watch paint dry.

Posted by Grant 11/26/2010 at 06:03 PM

"Are you guys up for a Deuce Club?"

yup

Posted by CWATC 11/26/2010 at 06:05 PM

Whoops, realized that Rafa returned the ball in; somehow I hadn't noticed that. Agree then it was a tough call and Rafa may have had a point w/ his complaints.

Oh well.

Dreaming of a Fedal final w/ Fed coming up on top - one can dream, right??

Posted by Tuulia 11/26/2010 at 06:07 PM

thebigapple - oh... ok then. :)

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 06:07 PM

TheBigApple That sounds dreadful.Though didnt you book at the last minute like I recall.I am booking now for RG2011.

Posted by thebigapple 11/26/2010 at 06:09 PM

Tuulia, I must say my room was spanking new. Very comfy and modern. I was the first person to stay in my particular assigned room since that floor was newly reopened for bookings.

Posted by Metro 11/26/2010 at 06:09 PM

I failed to get tickets on Thur for Fed/Sod match and followed the match on the big screen in the fan zone.

Fortunately got a standard ticket today for Nadal/Berdych match. one of the sponsors' hostesses offered me an upgrade to a seat in the corporate suite as valued customer. It would be rude to say no and I saw how the other half lives (separate entrance, free buffet and drinks). Each suite has capacity of 32 and my host invited new guests in, but some suites remained empty or had only 2 guests. I had a normal seat this week and I actually looked up to the Suite and wondered how it feels. Listened politely to guests on the Irish crisis/bailout and impact to Euro or high impact marketing of social networking. Can't understand why people text when there is a perfect tennis match going on.

The match was good and both players served well and had breakpoints in 1st set, but couldn't convert. At 6-5, Nadal had to hold and a Berdych shot was called out. Berdych challenged and Hawkeye showed the ball in. 15-30, Nadal was upset with umpire Bernares and protested. Nadal held and won the tie break. Disappointing 2nd set: Nadal broke Berdych in a hard fought game to 3-1 and marched on to win the match. Nadal gave nothing away and defended brilliantly, hit again plenty FH winners from difficult positions, hit great passing shots and came a few times to the net. Incidentally, Berdych had too many UFEs, fewer FH winners, came more often to the net with winners. Murray v Nadal semi, Nadal was impressive this week and I would name him as the favourite to win WTF.

As I left the suite and took lift, got off wrong floor and turn, I almost walked into Berdych's press conference. I saw the cameras and made a quick U-turn. Embarrassing.

Posted by Or 11/26/2010 at 06:10 PM

I thought Rafa played VERY well, as did Nole, but unless Roger is playing, I want drama, and Birdy and Roddick mentally checked out after set number 1. So, the only Drama we got was Rafa in a snit, which is rare.

Hey, come to think about it, maybe it is me! Last time I saw a live Roger match, he used the F word, twice. Now Rafa yelling at the umpire and supervisor? What is the world coming to?

Yikes, I'm almost afraid to watch Roger's match tomorrow.

Posted by Diane 11/26/2010 at 06:10 PM

Master Ace

My daughter and son in law are Auburn grads, they met and fell in love there!

They have a big house pary going on right now and all I can say is maybe I need to drive down there as I'm sure they are in high spirits and I hope someone in the crowd is tending to my Olivia....there are also a few other toddlers here so I hope they are happy.

Looks like War Eagle to me!!!!!!

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 06:10 PM

Okay I see it was just the building then

I am confused anyway

Posted by Jackie 11/26/2010 at 06:11 PM

Grant, I'm posting it just for you. :)

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 06:12 PM

thebigapple Hell thats sounds dreadful.Though didnt you book last minute if I recall.Like I am booking hotels now for RG next year.

Posted by thebigapple 11/26/2010 at 06:12 PM

Yes, I did book at the last minute. What a memory!

I had some cheap tickets bought but headed there anyway. I did manage to trade up to half decent seats in the main arena while in Paris.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 06:13 PM

Metro Hey what a bonus for you being up graded and living like a "celebrity".Good for you.

Again thanks for your match comments.Are you going to anymore matches at all?

Posted by thebigapple 11/26/2010 at 06:13 PM

What! You are booking already???. You are so organized. Hats off to you! You put me to shame.

Posted by Metro 11/26/2010 at 06:15 PM

Or - Are you in London and will you attend semi-final(s) on Saturday or even final?

CL- Hi, sorry about Wednesday evening, missed your post when I logged off.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 06:15 PM

thebigapple Well lucky you.I am doing my seats from here through the sports people I usually deal with.I am hoping RG2011 will be good.Its my fav slam.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 06:17 PM

thebigapple I live too far away not to be organised and also there are some good cheap flights to Europe from Australia at the moment.I wish I was going to the USA how dollar is good and there are great prices on air line tickets at the moment too.

Posted by Grant 11/26/2010 at 06:17 PM

"Grant, I'm posting it just for you. :)"

Yay! You should call it the Grant edition, too.

Posted by Holds 2 Love 11/26/2010 at 06:18 PM

Master Ace, sounds like it was an exciting game. But you're a Crimson Tide fan, aren't you? Commiserations, if that's the case. Really appreciate the comments of Metro, Or and all who attend the matches. Sounds like there will be more on the way tomorrow, and hopefully another post or two by Hannah.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 06:21 PM

Hmmmm the power of Grant I see

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 11/26/2010 at 06:22 PM

Couldn't resist posting this little bit of gossip from the London Daily Mail : Boris Becker, aged 43, has admitted that he has just undergone a facelift ...

Posted by Metro 11/26/2010 at 06:22 PM

Ausiemarg,

It was fun and Virginia Wade was in the next suite as guest. Back to the hotdog and diet coke seats again.
I don't have tickets for the weekend. But I will just turn up and maybe I get lucky and get hold of some ticket. Some friends may come through.

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) 11/26/2010 at 06:22 PM

hang on a sec, did I miss Novak wearing an eye patch? Or he simply joked that he had one? After dinner, I'll check the official sites, but I just ran past a mention of an eye patch here...

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 11/26/2010 at 06:23 PM

Metro : Thanks for another enjoyable report !

Posted by CL 11/26/2010 at 06:24 PM

Metro - if you are still around...just a bit of silly non tennis business. I noticed you speculating about where John Cleese got his inspiration for Fawlty towers. According to a documentary about the show, Cleese got the idea when he and Eric Idle bailed on the hotel they were in during the filming of Holy Grail...the place they were in kept running out of hot water they needed to get rid of all that mud. So the two of them decamped to a Inn/B&B a few miles away. Cleese said that the innkeeper there was w./out question the rudest person either he or Idle had ever encountered. He couldn't fathom how/why the guy was in the 'hosting' business. But he got fascinated and, voila, Basil Fawlty was born. :-)

Have loved your WTF reports by the way...fair and balanced for realz...and interesting too!

Posted by Master Ace 11/26/2010 at 06:24 PM

Holds 2 Love,
No, I am not a fan of either team. However, my friends are Auburn fans.

Posted by Holds 2 Love 11/26/2010 at 06:25 PM

AM, is it "the power of Grant," or the humor of Grant? *sniper rifle*

Tina, Djokovich pulled out an eye patch during the pre-match interview when he was asked about his eye. Then he wore it when he came on court.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 06:26 PM

Metro Well anyway your enjoyed being a "celeb" for a day

I hope you can get tickets for the s/finals with the top 4 being in action

Posted by thebigapple 11/26/2010 at 06:26 PM

Maybe the OR-effect will result in Roger having a fistfight with some-one. That should liven things up a bit.

I must confess I am a bit OK with word fighting with the officials ala Nadal today.

But a fistfight (not with officials, please), maybe with Maradona involved would make the day much more amusing for us all.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 06:28 PM

Lynne Why am I not surprised at all with Boris getting a "face lift"

I still think he hides in closets lol!

Holds 2 Love

Well a bit of both where Grant is concerned

At least he isnt typing in Capitols anymore.

Posted by thebigapple 11/26/2010 at 06:28 PM

Boris needs a face transplant.

Posted by L.Rubin 11/26/2010 at 06:29 PM

"Also Rafa wasn't rude when complaining, and all is fine with him and Carlos judging by the smiles aftrrwards."

That's precisely the problem, Tuulia! Rafa, like Fed, is too polite. What these two need to do, IMHO, is forget their contracts with Nike and treat us to the occasional profanity-laced tantrum. While Fed's 2009 USO hissy fit was mildly entertaining--and certainly better than his "S**t, it's killing me today" blah at Wimby 2007--it lacked the Connors-like venom that I do, occasionally, miss. Hewitt, Murray, and Djoker showed some promising signs, but they, too, decided to a) stop playing well (Hewitt) or b) become . . . role models (Murray and Djoker). Join me, then, in praying for the resurgence of Daniel Koellerer. For an idea of just how terrible this Daniel can be, watch this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vfqp8QEsrds


Posted by ladyjulia 11/26/2010 at 06:30 PM

So, its Rafa-Muzz and Fed-Nole?

Both matches are with high billing.

Fed-Nole first set will be a corker to watch...whoever wins the first set, will mostly likely take the match. Fed needs revenge though for what happened at the USO. I hope he dosen't forget that he had two matchpoints. Djokovic can have DC anyway, so he will have a fine ending to the year anyway. I hope Fed takes that SF.

Rafa-Fed F will obviously be most wanted by TD...second to Fed-Muzz. Then Rafa-Muzz and then Nole-Muzz.


Posted by Diane 11/26/2010 at 06:31 PM

Or

If you are London now, I am counting on you to transfer all my positive energy to Fed for a semi and a final win!

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 06:31 PM

L.Rubin

Not Crazy Danny??

Posted by VamosRafa 11/26/2010 at 06:35 PM

Outcome of Fed-Nole match will based on Nadal-Murray match outcome. If Rafa wins his match then expect Fed to lose to Djoker in a close encounter.
I don't think Fed believes he can beat Rafa.

Posted by x-fan 11/26/2010 at 06:35 PM

Ladyjulia,
There can't be a Rafa-Murray final since they are playing in the semis :)

L.Rubin
Thanks for the laugh! I was trying to picture either Rafa or Roger laughing like that (he actually sounded like a woman) ;-)

Posted by Holds 2 Love 11/26/2010 at 06:39 PM

MA, I see.

Kudos to Lynne, for finishing her Christmas shopping already! Really Lynne, that's great. So happy for you. Doesn't make me feel jealous or inadequate in the least. ;-) For the rest of us, James LaRosa has a few suggestions.
http://bit.ly/h5o1fk

Posted by Metro 11/26/2010 at 06:40 PM

CL,

Thanks for sharing this comedy nugget with me. Cleese made lemonade out of sour lemons and struck comedy gold. Imagine what it is like when Cleese checks in a hotel nowadays. He experiences bad service and turn it into a laugh.

Lynne, Thanks. Do you get good television coverage of WTF?

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 11/26/2010 at 06:43 PM

Holds 2 Love :

Well, as I said earlier, this is a first for me. Some of my friends have finished their shopping in October so I have frequently felt inadequate :)

Posted by ladyjulia 11/26/2010 at 06:44 PM

VamosRafa,

The Fed might not believe he can beat Rafa...sure..but he's gonna try anyway. He tried on clay 11 times. I think he might actually prefer not trying on clay for once.

xfan,

oh..yeah...right...:-)

both our picks are alive...I hope Nole loses tomorrow though. And I do hope it isn't a 3 hr affair as Fed has the night match. I don't know what I have to sacrifice to the tennis g-o-d-s, but i want Fed's match to be over in an hour tomorrow...and with him being the winner.

However, the problem is that even if its TMF..the Djoker is tough to play. Sometimes being a legend sucks...the Fed will always get these night matches.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 11/26/2010 at 06:45 PM

Metro : Yes, TC has really excelled in their coverage of WTF. Hope you get to see more live tennis.

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny Server Rafa fan 11/26/2010 at 06:46 PM

What the heck is this?? 2-3 beatdown???? Geez. Roddick. I thought he was Djoker's daddy. He just tanked it, it seems. I guess who can blame him. He didn't want to face his daddy, cough, cough, Fed again. What was it, 22-2 any one?

And now I see that incident during Rafa's play. I have to say Rafa overracted. He clearly stopped playing and raised his hand either at the same time or a half second earlier than Ump called it out. Not sure why he was so pissed. I think the ump had wrong him before, so clearly that must have been on his mind. I got to think. no. he was not the one who gave Rafa warning for coaching at wimby. I can't remember. And it was Pascal who wronged Rafa vs. Evil Sod. I can't figure it out.

Posted by x-fan 11/26/2010 at 06:49 PM

Ladyjulia,
Well I didn't expect Fed to be playing Nole so I will be conflicted.
Rafa spoiled my plans cause I didn't think he'd do this well ;-)
I'm sort of thinking we will both lose yet again, which would only mean we'll have to go at it for AO!

Posted by L.Rubin 11/26/2010 at 06:49 PM

AM,

Yep. Crazy Danny! The video I posted, in which Oscar Hernandez treats him to that insane victory dance and high-pitched laughter, does not show us what Crazy did during the match, but considering the fact that Koellerer once spat on his hand before shaking hands with his opponent (and that the Austrian player Koubek once tried to choke him), it is safe to assume that he was pretty awful.

Koubek (for you, x-fan):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIYdC4TX_G8

Posted by ladyjulia 11/26/2010 at 06:51 PM

Reuters conducted an interview with Fed about the olympics..its kind of long, but its a good read for Fed fans:

http://tinyurl.com/2axqjgq

Posted by x-fan 11/26/2010 at 06:52 PM

L.Rubin,
Thanks, but wait was that Oscar Hernandez laughing? I thought it was Koellerer!

Posted by Metro 11/26/2010 at 06:52 PM

Lynne,

Happy Thanksgiving. 6 matches so far this week, got to watch Sod, Berd and Roddick live for first time. Still no Ferrer live match. easier to get WTF tickets than Wimbledon and WTF is better value than Queen's.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/26/2010 at 06:55 PM

xfan

I don't think the Muzz will win..he's in a transition stage with no coaches, changing mental makeup on court..it will take some time for him to settle down. Plus its at home, which never is good for the Muzz.

He might win, he might not. Personally, I would still bet on Rafa. He's had 3-0 in RR play. It will be tough, but not impossible.

Same for Fed.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 06:56 PM

L.Rubin

Thanks.I didnt watch the first link you posted

Too many memories for me with that Nut Case!!!

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 11/26/2010 at 06:56 PM

Metro :

I'm green with envy. I can imagine that it's much better than Queens.

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny Server Rafa fan 11/26/2010 at 06:56 PM

I've seen some replay of Rafa vs. Berdie. what's going on? Rafa continues to play lousy. What the heck happened to US open form? Totally gone. It's all back to IW/Miami/Montreal/Cinci form, aka crappy form. His serve is back to puny version where opponent put back in play at will, ROS is terrible, high and short looping balls, just ugh. I have my doubt that he can pass Muzz tomorrow. If Muzz plays like he's supposed to, it could be a beatdown.

Has anyone read this from yahoo sport article named "Murray gloomy on chances if Nadal awaits"

http://sports.yahoo.com/tennis/news?slug=reu-finalsmurray_pix

"“There’s not really a whole lot of room for error. But I’ll try and win. But I’m not sure I’ve got a whole lot of chance if I play against him.”

What a bunch of baloney. I am slightly nervous about my Fedal final. Fed can definitely beat Djoker, but can puny server Rafa beat Muzz? US open Rafa can totaly beat Muzz, but unfortunately he is not here.

Posted by x-fan 11/26/2010 at 06:58 PM

Ladyjulia,
Yea I was actually thinking that it may be Rafa afterall...
I guess when it comes to the semis/final I too trust Roger and Rafa more than the others.
Anyway, we'll see soon enough.

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