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The Slamless Ones 11/01/2010 - 2:11 PM

Woz

by Pete Bodo

Mornin'. I got a kick out of this comment left at the Blondes Away! post, and it also got me thinking about a few issues that ought to be raised regarding this Slamless No. 1 issue that has become a staple of the WTA conversation these days. This comes from a poster called Thomas:

manuelsantanafan wrote:

Pete, 44-74 being labelled a .500 winning percentage is consistent with "unreliable math."

When the history of my unexceptional (except for some serious boneheaded plays) baseball career is written, would you be so good as take on the task of calculating my batting averages."

LOL!

True 44 wins in 118 matches is a .373 winning percentage. (.369 if you inlude Capriati matches).

Thomas's outstanding mathematical skills extends, if inadvertently, manuelsantanafan's self-effacing reference to baseball. And while my own woefully poor grasp of statistics—actually, simple math—has often been laid bare in these posts, I can't help but notice that almost any batter in Major League Baseball history would be be more than happy with a .373 batting average against the best teams he faces. Which re-raises the question, how come Elena Dementieva didn't hit at least one out of the park in Paris, New York, London or Melbourne?

I admit the analogy is a bit too deft, and is relevant only because it's so inviting. Comparing baseball, a team sport, with tennis, is an apples and oranges exercise. Still, winning more than a third (oh, please tell me I don't have that percentage wrong!) of your matches against the very best players seems to me a pretty danged good record—especially in the comparative terms in which I used the stat. Anyone care to crunch the numbers and post Wozniacki's winning percentage, based on her 5-20 record against the best players of her time? (And yes, I did leave Jennifer Capriati off that considerably lengthy list; my bad.) I want to say .200. And that's a batting average that might get you shipped to the minors.

This morning, I posted on Wozniacki and the Doha result over at ESPN, and I'd like to further explore an issue I raised there. I might as well come out and flat-out declare it "The Curse of Number Oneness," a hex that befalls players who reach the year-end No. 1 ranking before they've won their first major. I'm not sure that the sample-size is large enough to draw hard and fast conclusions, and we all know that in tennis, anything can happen (if you're former No. 1s Dinara Safina or Marcelo Rios, that something is bad). But when I look at the career trajectory of the greatest of players, one thing really stands out: Most of them expressed their potential greatness before, and in some cases way before, they developed the consistency that enabled them to stay at the top.

In other words, the record suggests that you want to win your major first, then worry about rankings and all that other minutae of the pro life. And I believe this is one reason that most great players will tell you that they don't pay much attention to the numerical rankings, as well as the reason some No. 1 players (year-end and otherwise) have spent a fair amount of time almost apologizing for earning the top spot: Hey, don't blame me, I just swing the rackets. Take your beef to the computer!

Take someone like Amelie Mauresmo, who was No. 1 briefly, but never at the end of the year. She first claimed the top spot (and held it for five weeks) in September 2004, and her Grand Slam performance actually tailed off (if only by a little) for over a year before she won her first major, at the 2006 Australian Open. In any event, she ended her career with "just" two Grand Slam titles. Wouldn't a No. 1 ranking generally predict greater success? But given the history of other Slamless Ones, she acquited herself pretty well.

How about Kim Clijster? She hit No. 1 without benefit of winning a major in August 2003, but didn't win that first major until September 2005, at the U.S. Open (she missed four of nine Slams in that interim, but those are the dates). To date, she's still stuck at three majors, all captured in New York. She may add to that Grand Slam haul yet, but in terms of this discussion her results have been so-so.

The ATP has had only one Slamless One—hail, even Thomas Muster and Yevgeny Kafelnikov won majors before they smelled the roses at the peak of the game. But the ATP has never produced a slamless year-end No. 1 (more about that subset later). The man who came closest to performing what would be, in its own right, the remarkable feat of ascending to the top of the ATP pile without benefit of having taken a Grand Slam title is Marcelo Rios.

Rios became No. 1 on March 30, 1998, and engaged in a protracted tug-of-war for the top spot with Pete Sampras until the very last tournament of the year, the ATP Tour Championships. Sampras, driven by the desire to complete a record sixth-consecutive year at No. 1, practically killed himself in the course of his fall, "Stop Rios!" drive. In the end, Rios proved to be Sampras's greatest ally, as he was forced to withdraw from the year-end championships—and a potential showdown with Sampras for the top spot—because of a bad back that ultimately ended his career not long thereafter.

The big takeaway from all that? Sampras was driven less by the determination to finish No. 1 than by the extraordianary opportunity it represented for him that particular year. And rightly so. Sampras's six straight seasons as year-end No. 1 is a record that any future player will have only once chance to equal or surpass. When players say it's all about the majors, they're telling the truth, which is why there's really no harm in questioning the quality of any given year-end No. 1, especially on Jan. 1. What can't be questioned, though, is whether this or that player "deserves" the top ranking.

In some ways, becoming a Slamless One, especially a Slamless Year-End One, is as much burden as opportunity. Don't for a moment think that Wozniacki wasn't aware of her position as she went out to play Clijsters in Doha. The pressure on No. 1 is enormous, but even more importantly, certain facts suggest that becoming the year-end No. 1 without winning a major only makes the road ahead rougher.

There's little data to go on, but the last person to run a mile in Wozniacki's shoes was Jelena Jankovic. And we saw how finishing the year at No. 1 impacted her performance. Her results took a nosedive from which they have yet to fully recover. She finished No. 1 (without a major) in 2008, and just plain hasn't been the same since. It's no longer a question of whether Jankovic will find her equilibrium; it looks more like she's just searching for niche in the rankings somewhere below—perhaps well below—No. 1.

If you look at the careers of the Steffi Grafs and John McEnroes and Roger Federers and Ivan Lendls of this world, it's obvious that winning a major was part of a process, the first giant step rather than the final one. The tension underlying what the numbers show is between greatness and consistency, and in that regard it's helpful to think of the present system as less of a ranking than a rating. But greatness and consistency don't necessarily go hand-in-hand, as Marat Safin and even Svetlana Kuznetsova have demonstrated, time and again. It's handy to keep that in mind.

Jelena2 Winning a major provides a kind of psychic and emotional fuel, and a stamp of credibility, that makes it easier to achieve a high rating. Mauresmo and Clijsters may argue that it works the other way around, too, although I'm not convinced. Perhaps over time Wozniacki will make me change my mind.

The quality percolating under the surface for these players is confidence, not skill. It's also a matter of priorities and focus. The rule of thumb for those who would be great might as well be: Set your sights on the majors, and the rest will take care of itself. Just look how long it took Rafael Nadal to become No. 1, and if you think that was only because of his rival Federer, think again. It took Sampras took about two-and-a-half years to become No. 1 after he won is first major, in 1990.

But I wouldn't despair if I was a Wozniacki fan. What was she supposed to do, tank matches in order to avoid the Curse of Number Oneness? In that sense, the ranking could almost be said to have fallen in her lap. And she has terrific chances to build on her reputation because of her relative youth (20) and the state of the competition. We're at one of those curious transitional times when a great group of champions probably is in the waning days of a collective career. Imagine if Federer, Nadal, Murray and Djokovic were suddenly unable or unwilling to play and/or win enough to capture the top ranking. I'd say a handful of guys like David Ferrer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Fernando Verdasco and Robin Soderling would suddenly like their chances of winning a major, and even more their odds on reaching No. 1.

It would have been silly for anyone over the past two or three years to claim that Nadal was in a position to put the hammer down and take control of the men's game as its undisputed top dog. But Wozniacki has that sort of opportunity now, which is why her loss to Clijsters has to be considered a set back. You can't expect every legitimate rival to be removed from your path, can you?

What Wozniacki has going for her is a solid game, a strong constitution, and a healthy appetitie for playing—and winning—matches. And she's handled the circumstances surrounding her rise very well, without seeming to get too high, or too low, as it played out. At this moment in history, those are valuable assets. She needs to focus on elevating her game at the most important moments, because that "living in the moment" and "you win some, you lose some" mentality will get her through many matches against her equals or lesser players, but it won't be good enough against players who have tasted ultimate Grand Slam success. And even in the worst case scenarios for the WTA, there will be a few of those players lurking in 2011.


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Posted by zenggi 11/02/2010 at 02:45 AM

Hi AM,

I see you got a lot of congrats yesterday. And for such a young person, as well. Did you get mine? (I must check) How did you spend the day?

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela YEC Doubles Champion and Winner of 7 Titles in 2010) 11/02/2010 at 02:48 AM

AM yes I did go with your picks so thank you. Well done on the trifecta and a guy who I work went with the same trifecta twice and won plus he did really well on the sweep.

zenggi we are talking about horse racing and it is pouring in Melbourne.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/02/2010 at 02:51 AM

zengii Yes I did and I havent had a chance to answer all my emails I will though.

I was suppose to go out to a Melbourne Cup Lunch though the weather here turned soo cold and wet.I decided to stay home.I went and brought some fresh seafood and I bottle of Pink French Champange and just hang out on the lounge and watch the Cup which goes all day here.I just went up to the tab where I placed my bets and they wrote me out a winning cheque.I know the people that run the tab and they gave me 2 Champange Flutesto me for a Birthday gift.

So far I have had a great day.Received flowers and cards etc.Peter wont be home till next week then we are going to Melbourne for my belated Birthday.

Posted by zenggi 11/02/2010 at 02:53 AM

Angel,
Define pouring. You haven't seen rain in Holland. The Dutch say 'You are not made of sugar, you won't melt in the rain!'...

I must prepare for work. I hate this change to winter time. Talk to you later.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/02/2010 at 02:53 AM

AA I am soo happy for you.Phew I am glad I was right.Though I did say I had a good feeling about Americain and I backed it to win the Geelong Cup which has always been a good indicator for the Melbourne Cup

Posted by zenggi 11/02/2010 at 02:54 AM

AM,
Horses and champagne! And a chance to celebrate again next week.It sounds wonderful.

Bye for now.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/02/2010 at 02:57 AM

zengii Hey you only live once I will talk to you soon

Bye

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/02/2010 at 03:04 AM

AA We have got Melbournes horrid weather its cold like Winter and raining pfft.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela YEC Doubles Champion and Winner of 7 Titles in 2010) 11/02/2010 at 03:15 AM

AM well we have a beautiful sunny day and I have a great red dress on. A few of us from work are going to celebrate after work as we are not allow to drink while we are at work.

Posted by Kim (Swiss in Brisbane) 11/02/2010 at 03:16 AM

Hi AM
My third try! My iPhone Internet is playing up. That's why I'm late
With my birthday wishes
So
Happy Birthday! May all your dreams come true. (except too
many grand slams for Rafa. He he. Don't be greedy!
I hope you enjoyed your seafood and the races. Congrats to winning
some pocket money for Europe.
Don't drink both bottles at once!!!

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/02/2010 at 03:20 AM

Kim LOL!

Thanks for the Birthday Wishes

Talk to you soon

Posted by Kim (Swiss in Brisbane) 11/02/2010 at 03:22 AM

You're welcome.
Have a nice evening.
Take care

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/02/2010 at 03:24 AM

AA Sounds like a good idea.Our weather was ok until yesterday until we got the cold change.pfft.

I dont think we will ever get proper Spring Weather.People are getting sick and there is a out break of Whopping Cough here.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/02/2010 at 03:25 AM

AA Congrats to Stephanie Gilmore who won her 4th World Surfing Championship too.

Posted by temes 11/02/2010 at 03:28 AM

Lol zenggi something a bit less glamorous, I have a mild case of insomnia. Normally I'm an excellent sleeper though.

Happy Birthday to whoever has one? AM? lol

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/02/2010 at 03:48 AM

temes

LOL!

Yes it is me

Thanks you

Posted by pj 11/02/2010 at 03:54 AM

bali draw ?

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/02/2010 at 03:58 AM

Rafa news,

Tickets for the chairty match between Rafa v Roger were sold out in less than 6 hours.The match will take place on December 22nd in Caja Magica {Madrid} and all funds will be for Rafa's foundation.

For further information about the event please check

www.fundacionrafandal.com/unidosportainfancia.

Posted by Thomas 11/02/2010 at 04:15 AM

Pete:
"Anyone care to crunch the numbers and post Wozniacki's winning percentage, based on her 5-20 record against the best players of her time?"

Her stats may look bad now, but I wonder how Elena's looked when she was 20?

To look back on Caro career now is unfair when she's still on the rise. The numbers don't tell you that all Caro's 4 losses to Venus came when she was only 17! They haven't meet since.

The reason it is so 'easy' to top the WTA rankings these days is because no woman has been as dominant on tour as Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf and Monica Seles were from 1975-1995.

Some would say Serena, and that may be true when it comes to the majors, but hardly on the rest of the tour. Serena has 37 career titles, Martina won 167 titles (71 in a 5 year period!).

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/02/2010 at 04:16 AM

Rafa news,1st November,2010.

The Masters 1000 Paris Bercy will start on November 6th.

Rafa is to wear Mustard tee shirt with magenta shorts

The kit is on sale in Europe only.Not avaliable in the US

Rafa fans,

Dont forget to vote for Rafa in 2010 ATP World Tour Fans' Favourite awards

Go to the ATP World Tour Website where you can cast your vote

One vote per valid email address

Rafa is already the year no 1 ATP player

You can vote for Rafa in the following catergories

Favourite Singles Player

Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award

The nominees are

Marin Cilic,Taylor Dent,Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Posted by lilscot 11/02/2010 at 05:35 AM

AM:

Good morning M! Congrats on your horse win. And pink champagne? My my, you little racetrack girl you. :) Hey, you've mentioned a guy you know named Neil from Toronto and I got to thinking. I used to know a guy named Neil Faintuk who lived in Canada but moved to Australia, but he's most likely not the same guy. I mean, what are the odds? Canada and Australia are both huge countries and it would be very weird if he turned out to be the same guy!

Question: What colour is magenta??

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/02/2010 at 05:45 AM

lilscot Thanks I might take up professional betting? hmmm no way.I am glad another friend here AA who lives in Perth took my tips too and won.

No Neil still lives in Toronto

The colour magenta is in the photo I saw is like a blueish-grey colour quite nice with the mustard tee which has some white on it as well.

Posted by lilscot 11/02/2010 at 05:50 AM

AM:

Well, I like the sound of that outfit. Can't wait until next week now. You know, thinking about it now, I think Rafa and Nole both did a very smart thing by playing heavy a few weeks ago and then resting a good couple of weeks before Paris. Now they'll be the ones rested and maybe Roger and some of the other guys will be pooped out. It's Paris after twoo weeks off, then another week off and then the YEC.

I'm liking how things are unfolding...

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/02/2010 at 06:04 AM

lilscot I too think there were smart by not playing

Posted by wilson75 11/02/2010 at 08:16 AM

lilscot: Djokovic is playing in Basel this week.

Posted by lilscot 11/02/2010 at 08:21 AM

wilson: 8:16 a.m.

Well, even better for Rafa then. :)

Posted by wilson75 11/02/2010 at 08:33 AM

lilscot: I'm assuming Rafa isn't really resting but preparing for next season as he has very little time off after WTF with the two exos just before Christmas and the Abu Dhabi exo over New Year's weekend.

Posted by Master Ace 11/02/2010 at 09:18 AM

Bali Draw:

Li vs Date Krumm
Pavlyuchenkova vs Ivanovic
Hantuchova vs Wickmayer
Kleybanova vs Rezai

Posted by coolh 11/02/2010 at 09:28 AM

Sampras as no.1 for 6 years when there was no competition.
So-puT an asterick nest to that stat.What did he win - Wimbledon every year?
Who was no.2?NOt a Nadal.
How many points did he have average when he was no.1?5000?Because the no.2,3.4,5,6,7, were not consistent,were losing one day,winning one tournement,then losing at first round the next three tournement.
So:Sampras as no1 for 6 years is ...deceptive.nO 2 player had 2000 to3000 points.
Nadal has stated (when he was no 2 for 140 weeks,, thats right 140 weeks )that HE had more points than Sampras when Sampras was no. 1. Nadal was no.2 at say 9000 points WHILE Sampras was no 1 at say 5000 points.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 11/02/2010 at 09:30 AM

Good Morning folks, It appears the only award fans can vote for on the ATP site is favorite singles player and favorite doubles team. The fans don't vote for the sportsmanship award.

Posted by Queeny 11/02/2010 at 09:31 AM

Isn't the Stefan Edberg award voted on by the players?

Posted by wilson75 11/02/2010 at 09:38 AM

Queeny: Yes you're right, the only categories voted by the fans are favourite singles player and doubles team.

Posted by zzzz 11/02/2010 at 09:50 AM

Are Sharapova's results if you look at her career can be described as "so-so" as well with "just 3 GS"?

Posted by manuelsantanafan 11/02/2010 at 09:50 AM

To add to MA's 9:18, the Kimiko Date Krumm-Li and Pavlyuchenkova-Ivanovic matches will be on the 4th. The other two matches will be on the 5th.


At least one Bartoli supporter is extremely irate that Hantuchova got a wild card to this event rather than Bartoli. (Considering that Bartoli is much higher ranked than Hantuchova, has had a better season, and is a reigning finalist of this tournament, this fan has much merit in his argument. Apparently, Bartoli and Rezai are in a very tight battle for the No. 1 ranking among French women and the points from this tournament could make a difference. (Kimiko Date Krumm's WC choice, of course, creates no issues cuz: she's Kimiko Date Krumm, she's had very good recent results, she's Kimiko Date Krumm, she's Asian, she's ultra-cool, and she's Kimiko Date Krumm.

The pertinent Bartoli fan's webpage, which is kind of fun IMSHEO:

http://marionbartoli.blog.co.uk/

I especially like the sentence:

"Some tennis sites may highlight the emergence of that irrelevance Kournikova as signalling the start of the so called Russian invasion, but in truth that powerful hegemonic army consists of Sharapova, Kuznetsova, Myskina, Zvonareva, Petrova, and Elena."

Posted by Master Ace 11/02/2010 at 10:00 AM

Manuelsanatana Fan,
Thanks for the OOP on the 4th and 5th. So, top half starts the proceedings.

Posted by Roddick fan from Virginia 11/02/2010 at 10:08 AM

Coolh--The points for tournements were not the same as now. It could also be said that Nadal is a strong #2 in a very week era and Sampras was a super #1 in the greatest era in tennis history.

Posted by beth 11/02/2010 at 10:41 AM

just popping in to say happy birthday to AM !
Hope you have a wonderful celebration - certainly sounds like you have been enjoying it !

and magenta - seriously Nike ? magenta - please just don't do it !
I don't know what they call magenta , but here - and in my box of crayons - magenta is a deep pinkish purple
and that paired with mustard yellow would be vomit inducing

Posted by Steven RC 11/02/2010 at 10:43 AM

I was a kid watching tennis in the time where appears Hingis and the William sisters. In that time it seems that in the women tennis you were a failure if you din´t win a Grand Slam before your 18th birthday. So for me it is a little strange hear that a 20 years old is a tender age for anything in tennis specially in the women field. Martina Hingis won her last major at the age of 18. The William sister change the tendency in the WTA, cause they make the women tennis a more physical play, so it is necesary now to have a longer time of development. At the beggining i wasn´t so happy about see a girl playing tennis taht seems more a bodybuilder than tennis player but other players showed me later that is possible to look like a women and still play hard tennis. i think that it is nice to see how it evolves and where it takes the women play. I will be more than happy to see the play evolves to the next level with a combination between physical power (the williams sisters), the athletisism (Dementieva, Wozniacki) and the finese and shot making (Henin, Schiavone).

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 11/02/2010 at 10:45 AM

MSF: thanks for that heads up on the Bartoli shafting, quite frankly. I agree this fan has really a flawless argument for why Bartoli should have received a WC over Daniela. And we all know why she got it and maid marion didn't, no? I'm furious and I don't really care about the WTA!! bah!

RFFVa.: you're right. Didn't the points get doubled last year under the new system? So Pete would have been in the 10,000 pt range. yup, a real flop that sampras..

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 11/02/2010 at 10:48 AM

beth: i'm with you on the color combo. sounds awful. rafa's kit for london is a dark purple top and gray shorts. a wee bit better but not much. So how's the hound from hell?

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 11/02/2010 at 10:49 AM

Is Kirilenko russian?

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 11/02/2010 at 10:49 AM

Good morning All.

Just wanted to give a quick shout out to our fellow TWibers who live in the Caribbean or who have family in the Carribean. Folks like TFactor (where are you sweetie, I miss you lots), Carol (I know you are in the Caribbean but cannot remember where, then again I may be wrong), Rafagirl and myself. We are experiencing some really bad weather here and I may be offline for a few days if this thing decides to hit Jamaica in the eastern end (where I live) by Friday of this week.

I am also giving a shoutout to Pat in the Phillipines (and I think there was someone else who posts here who is from that side of the world) that recently experienced a horrific typhoon. I hope you guys are doing ok. Give us a dink so that we know you are doing fine.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 11/02/2010 at 10:50 AM

Annie, good morning. How are you? I thought you would have been in London by now doing sight seeing and other stuff. How is life treating you?

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 11/02/2010 at 10:52 AM

Hi JK: uh oh, sorry to hear about the bad weather. Hope it doesn't hit you too hard. It's tough losing power for more than a day or two. yikes! Hang in there!

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 11/02/2010 at 10:57 AM

JK: oh no, no London until the friday after Thanksgiving! We're flying out late thursday night and arriving in London around 9am UK time on friday. We've got tickets for both sessions on saturday and the finals on sunday. If we're lucky we might be able to sneak in and get some nosebleed seats for friday night. We really only have the monday after the final for sightseeing. And maybe friday afternoon for some shopping. I want to do Hampton Court and the Tate Modern. It's a quick trip. Back on Tuesday. But we should be able to cram quite a bit of fun into 4 days. I just love London. dreary weather and all.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 11/02/2010 at 10:59 AM

I'm trying to remember if I'm friends with Pat on fb. If anyone else is maybe they can shoot her a message.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 11/02/2010 at 11:01 AM

Annie, yes we are storing water and other stuff right now and getting ready. Tomas seems to be doing a whole lot of moving around right now and one wonders where exactly he will strike.

Magenta. As most of you know I am a big Golden Girls fan and there is an episode where Blanche is jealous of Dorothy and she describes the feeling as being magenta. It is not that she is green with envy or some other colour so she calls it her magenta feeling.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 11/02/2010 at 11:04 AM

Oh I did not remember that she was on Facebook, I should perhaps pop over there and check. I am so bad at this Facebook thing. I hardly check the darned thing. I love London as well. I have never been but as a child growing up I have always appreciated the history surrounding it. My favourite author as a child was Barbara Cartland and I loved her historical romances with dukes and duchesses and all that stuff.

I like period movies and all the dressing up that goes with it. For some reason though I cannot seem to follow shows like the Tudors, maybe because it started so long ago. My sister is hooked on it. Never misses an episode. It could also be that because Henry VIII was never one of my favourite monarchs. Cutting off the heads of your wives would perhaps turn off any woman :)

Posted by Cotton Jack 11/02/2010 at 11:10 AM

Where I am supposed to be for today's matches?

Posted by Scott 11/02/2010 at 11:11 AM

Kim has won 50% of the Slams she's entered since coming out of retirement. Difficult to find anything "stuck" about that Pete. However, I acknowledge that the Petrova loss in Australia was utterly bizarre, given the hardcourt and prior Brisbane victory. She lost 7 matches - 3 to Zvonareva. This is just about the only thing that worries me about Kim for 2011. Otherwise I think she's a chance at every grand slam next year, whereas I don't rate Caroline at any of them.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 11/02/2010 at 11:12 AM

heehee, I loved the first couple of seasons of the Tudors but then it started getting kind of repetitive. right? marry/divorce/ behead, marry/divorce/behead... and the actor playing Henry doesn't look anything like the original. But usually I love period movies. You would love London, Karen, the history is just everywhere! In the architecture and the castles and such. I mean, the Tower of London is walking distance from where we're staying. We might even be able to see it from our hotel. And the population is very diverse which I really like. People of every possible color and background.

Posted by Master Ace 11/02/2010 at 11:14 AM

Jamaica Karen,
You and other TWibers, please be safe.

Posted by JB (FOOPs unite!!!) 11/02/2010 at 11:15 AM

Be safe Karen... batten down the hatches and park yourself somewhere dry, kay? :)

(and that goes for the rest of the TWibers in storms way too...)

Posted by Master Ace 11/02/2010 at 11:15 AM

Cotton Jack,
I think this is the thread for match calls but no one has posted on why Lopez is up a break on Murray in set 2 at Valencia.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 11/02/2010 at 11:17 AM

Annie, certain parts of Jamaica are very much like London. If you go into the hinterlands of Jamaica to places like Falmouth, Spanish Town, parts of St. Ann you will see the Spanish and English influence on our architecture.

Devon House in Kingston was once the seat of the Governor back in the day and it still has many of the items from those colonial days. Many of the traditional high schools, which were boarding schools back in the day still maintain that old world charm and most of them have that Georgian architecture still going on.

In terms of cuisine, even though Jamaican food is spicy, a lot of what we eat and how it is prepared is as a result of the commingling of foods from Europe, Africa and Asia. A melting pot if there ever was one. I think that is perhaps one of the reasons why many peoples from former colonies of the British Empire have been able to settle down in England in the way that they have. Nothing seems strange to them.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 11/02/2010 at 11:17 AM

CJ: i think you're in the right place. MA will be sure to know.

Scott: did you hear that Kim mentioned playing one more year and then having another baby? Hope she has a great 2011. I think she'll win at least one slam. Kim2.0 is pretty reliable!

Posted by Cotton Jack 11/02/2010 at 11:19 AM

Oh good! Yes Flopez is a break up in the second and - watching - its difficult to explain why ;-)

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 11/02/2010 at 11:19 AM

Karen: Jamaica sounds just wonderful. Lots of anglo influences in a tropical setting. perfection! except for the hurricanes...really do take care.

Posted by Cotton Jack 11/02/2010 at 11:20 AM

They're both playing attractive, if scarcely scorching, tennis

Posted by Cotton Jack 11/02/2010 at 11:21 AM

And as soon as I type that Murray remembers how well he can return. Whether this will lead to a break is another matter.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 11/02/2010 at 11:22 AM

Is Deliciano's serve firing on all cylinders today?

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 11/02/2010 at 11:24 AM

I thought Muzz had injured his hand playing a video game. seriously. that was reported the other day by TTC. Good that it wasn't anything serious.

Posted by Cotton Jack 11/02/2010 at 11:24 AM

I think they both had pretty indifferent 1st serve percentages in the first set.

This last service game of Lopez's Murray was looking in control of the points and he broke back. Wonder if FL will think his chance has gone?

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 11/02/2010 at 11:27 AM

Gosh, these hurricanes are hanging on until the bitter end. Look after yourself Karen, hope it doesn't come your way.

I think Carol lives in Miami.

Posted by Jay 11/02/2010 at 11:29 AM

Good morning all! Have to be brief before I'm caught. Ditto on the "be safe(s)" to JK and all others being subjected to storms, earthquakes and volcano eruptions.

I especially liked your 9:25, JK. Belated(?) birthday wishes to AM.

So jealous of you who will be in London soon. I've made the FO the last few years, but hopefully I'll get to merry old England one day.

Posted by Nova Villa 11/02/2010 at 11:31 AM

I totally disagree with Bodo on his prejudiced notion that "Kim's so so accomplishment". How many players on the WTA tour right now (not named Williams & Henin) have more slams than Kim? Nada. Kim has been perfect in finals (when she gets there) ever since her comeback. If you were only more discreet in your prejudices, you'd be more respected. I'm so glad there's Jon Wertheim & Bruce Jenkins. You have always let your biases against players like Kim take over your writing. What a shame.
How we miss George Vescey of the New York Times.

Posted by gh_3 11/02/2010 at 11:31 AM

Looks like Troicki is trying to serve a bagel to Berrer. He's playing well of late. Watch out, French! lol

Posted by lilscot 11/02/2010 at 11:34 AM

wilson:

Well, I never imagined that Rafa was just sitting around doing nothing. Of course he's preparing, but not just for next year, for Paris and London too. That's a whole lot different than grinding out two weeks in a row before Paris. For Rafa practicing and preparing IS resting.

In regards to The Tudors, I've watched all three seasons and am in the middle of the fourth and most recent one. We get it on CBC here. It is VERY heavy on the Hollywood romanticed version of actual events, and Jonathan Rhys Meyers is nothing like what we know of the real Henry VIII.

Although all the history books describe Henry VIII as a very strking and handsome man when he was younger, he was fat and ugly and oozing syphillis by the time he was the age of season 4. Yet they've still got Jonathan looking great but with a bit of a limp and some grey hair. Too funny.

I liked how someone above said they stopped watching because it became too repititive! :) They can play with facts and glitz up stuff, but they can't very well change the course of events so that the t.v. audience doesn't find it too repititive. He only killed two of his wives, but a lot of people think he killed them all! Ann Bolyn and Catherine Howard were the two unlucky ladies who, um, lost their heads.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 11/02/2010 at 11:40 AM

Not watching Henry VIII, it's been done so many times now. Very interesting period though. Rhys Meyers far too handsome to play Henry.

Posted by Ruth 11/02/2010 at 11:47 AM

When I was growing up in the West Indies many years ago, we used to recite a verse about hurricane preparation/alerts that ended with the lines "September --remember, October -- all over." But these November hurricanes are, sadly, happening more frequently than ever, what with Tomas bearing down while the tourist industry in islands like my favorite Nevis is just beginning to recover from a November hit in 2008!

Posted by Cotton Jack 11/02/2010 at 11:50 AM

40% of posts on tennis ... wow. Pip pip

Posted by Ruth 11/02/2010 at 11:55 AM

I'll continue with the OT by adding that I hope that all American citizens who care about their country (and that includes all US citizen TWibers, I'm sure) have voted or will vote today, if they have not already voted in the early voting that states like Georgia have or by absentee ballot (like me).

My apologies to anyone who finds this non-partisan statement inappropriate. Well, I'm not really apologizing. :)

Posted by Master Ace 11/02/2010 at 11:58 AM

Wednesday ATP Order of Play:

Valencia at 8 AM - Monfils vs Schwank followed by Youzhny vs Cuevas ending with Murray vs Monaco
Basel at 9 AM - Stepanek vs DeBakker, Nieminen and Isner vs Haase scheduled
Valencia at 10 AM - Paire vs Granollers
Basel at 11 AM - Roddick vs Querrey
Basel at 1 PM - Federer vs Tipsarevic
Valencia at 3 PM - Verdasco vs Simon
Basel at 3 PM - Kamke vs Berdych

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 11/02/2010 at 12:12 PM

Ruth, you are so bad. I agree though that I can never imagine how people with a legitimate chance to vote never seem to want to do so, yet they are the main ones who sit on the sidelines and complain. It is what happens in Jamaica and to them I say, you no longer have a voice. You had a voice when you were asked to go out and show the thieving candidate just what you thought of him/her but you chose to stay home and complain.

As to the Islands that have been trying to recover, here in Jamaica our road networks which were bad to begin with are now horrific and with more rain we are hoping that the landslides and flash floods that happen in the hilly regions do not happen or if they do that there will be no loss of life.

Ruth, can you believe that Barbados' stock is now classified as junk bonds? My goodness what happened to one of the most prosperous countries in the Caribbean? Good grief.

Posted by Colette 11/02/2010 at 12:15 PM

Just came back from voting, Ruth. JKaren, be safe. I guess the warm fall has kept the hurricanes around longer than normal.
Hi, Annie *she says, jealouser and jealouser*

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 11/02/2010 at 12:26 PM

Colette, you are too funny but thanks for the well wishes. These November storms are becoming too frequent for my liking. Next we will see storms on Christmas Day.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 11/02/2010 at 12:44 PM

lilscot: it was me who said the Tudors was getting repetitive but I know he only deheaded two of his wives. But he always had to go through the rigamorole about divorcing them and the courting of the next one etc. I'm fascinated by English history. Elizabeth I's reign is one of my favorites too.

Ok, back to tennis. How is Flo doing against Murray? Is that still going on?

Ruth: I voted first thing this morning. Polls very busy here!

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 11/02/2010 at 12:46 PM

lilscot: i like what you said about rafa when he's practicing he IS resting! so true.

colette: wish you could be there. maybe next year??

Posted by AO OPEN 11/02/2010 at 12:47 PM

Aw, JJ!

Posted by rafadoc...Waka Waka...Its Stanzi time! 11/02/2010 at 12:51 PM

Hi Twibe! Is anyone watching Ferru v. Garcia-Lopez. Its been quite a match. 5-5 in the first set right now.

Annie: When are you leaving for London? Will you get to sight see?

Jamaica Karen: Stay safe...and best wishes to all of you in that part of the world

Ruth-thanks for reminding folks to vote. :)

Posted by Colette 11/02/2010 at 12:52 PM

Annie, Murray beat FLo. Gasquet handled Lu quite handily, which brought back sad memories of RAndy's Wimbledon. Hmmmmm, you tempt!

Posted by rafadoc...Waka Waka...Its Stanzi time! 11/02/2010 at 12:54 PM

Colette: Thanks for the update.

Ferru holds and now Garcia Lopez will try to get it to a TB.

Posted by Mike 11/02/2010 at 12:55 PM

I'd also like to say that I'm not choosing Kim by a long shot ... you have a tight race between her, Caro, and Serena. I just feel she rises better to the big occasions than Caro, and has been out there consistently and winning all year unlike Serena. Not a landslide by any meens ... but enough.

If Fed or Rafa had won 2 Majors and not a single additional title, I'd be wary of them giving them top honors if another had won 5 (including a major) tournaments, had decent finishes otherwise and showed up to play all year.

Would all the KADs have cried 'woulda, coulda, shoulda!' ... ? Of course, but as I've said before ... that and 50 cents won't get you a cup of coffee. ;)

Posted by rafadoc...Waka Waka...Its Stanzi time! 11/02/2010 at 12:57 PM

Mike: I get what you mean about Kim's experience.

TB time in Valencia.

Posted by lilscot 11/02/2010 at 12:58 PM

Cotton Jack: 11:50 a.m.

Are you the hall monitor now? :)

Posted by rafadoc...Waka Waka...Its Stanzi time! 11/02/2010 at 12:59 PM

Well fork. Daveed down 0-3 in the TB. Garcia-Lopez hit a lob over his head for the first point. Some nice shots to win the other two.

Ferru gets a point...1-3

Posted by rafadoc...Waka Waka...Its Stanzi time! 11/02/2010 at 01:01 PM

Oof. Just saw you post upthread regarding your time frame for London Annie.

Garcia-Lopez leads in the first set TB 5-1

Posted by lilscot 11/02/2010 at 01:05 PM

Annie: 12:44 p.m.

(Cotton Jack, cover your eyes) I agree. I love the Elizabethan history. One of the best books I've read is called Elizabeth and Mary by Jane Dunn. It's all about their history together and mostly taken from actual letters written by both queens and their administrators.

As for player of the year on the women's side, there doesn't seem to be any clear contender. Probably 2 or 3 ladies in a tight race. Serena, Kim, and Caroline come to mind, but no one clearly over the other.

I'm actually excited about next year for the women. Hopefully Maria will be faring better, Justine will be all healed (from all that drug-taking! lol), Serena will still be highly motivated, and Kim goes all out since she's going to play just another year-and-a-half or so.

Posted by rafadoc...Waka Waka...Its Stanzi time! 11/02/2010 at 01:05 PM

And...Garcia-Lopez wins the first set by dominating that TB. Well done. Now stop it. ;-P

Vamos David!

Posted by rafadoc...Waka Waka...Its Stanzi time! 11/02/2010 at 01:06 PM

lilscot: I agree with you regarding the WTA. Very exciting the way things are shaping up for 2011. I hope Ana Ivanovic continues to improve.

Posted by RubyF(Let's Get Together and Feel Alright - mine and Bob Marley's hope today) 11/02/2010 at 01:12 PM

AM – MARGE, my birthday greetings to you yesterday disappeared before my eyes before I could post. Happy Belated - many happy returns of seafood and champagne, and reunion with your loved ONE.
Now, as a precaution I am writing in Word to copy and paste. Also disappearing were some comments on how the American political campaign is one comedic skit after another, but wit, once exposed, become stale, like sliced bread. Today it ends.
Ja Karen – batten down! My sister and family live in Golden Spring in a valley, which sometimes escapes the brunt of hurricane strikes, but with typical Jamaican humour, she tells tales of the roof lifting and settling down, and candle mishaps during power cuts. She is caring for an ailing spouse, but she is always reassuring when I call. You know in Jamaica, you can always rely on a “little man” to come in and help. Tonight I will call to see how Ja is faring.
London is my favorite city next to Paris. My husband once describe London as one of the last bastions of civilization – everyone was so polite! To me it was a thrill to visit the city of Dickens and Eliot, and the Needlewoman shop (I am a crafter). I, too, am not a fan of HenryVIII – corpulence is not one of the traits I admire in a man. Ja Karen is right – West Indians feel at home in England, because we share the same architecture and in some ways, the culture – somewhat Victorian – afternoon tea, domestic help, and school system. And so much of the popular British music is reggae driven – even Sting, whom I love!
My favorite BBC show is MI5 – such incredible plots, and I must comment on how they make the CIA villains of the worst sort. Last episode a woman (!) CIA agent threw her supervisor over a balcony, and then continued her seduction of an MI5 agent (the dishy Lukas of the smouldering eyes). Can’t wait to see what happens next! (I confess to shallowness – one of the acknowledged sins on this blog).
BACK TO TENNIS! – sorry for the long digression. Glad to see that Federer seems to be back of on track. A couple nights ago saw a rerun of this year’s Madrid semifinal against Ferrer, and that was a disinterested, dispirited Federer. Although it was late, I had to see it to the end to see how he won (he lost the final to Nadal) – it was a late break in the 3rd, and Ferrer was tired, and Fed capitalized. As one poster observed, although he won yesterday, you never know what to expect – in other words “you can’t put your pot on fire (stove) for him”. Another Jamaican gem – he just might not turn up for the meal. However, I put back the pot of curried goat(ref. Ja K), and hope he will turn up.

Posted by Lump Of Kohlschreiber (come back Elena) 11/02/2010 at 01:12 PM

Gulbis/Djoker in Basel......
should be interesting

Posted by rafadoc...Waka Waka...Its Stanzi time! 11/02/2010 at 01:13 PM

Ruby F-love your moniker. :) Nice sentiment. Love Bob Marley too. :)

Ferru struggling to hold but has AD now

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 11/02/2010 at 01:13 PM

I cannot understand why it is when there is a conversation about Serena and the amount of tournaments that she has played, posters do not take into account that the woman has been injured since Wimbledon. She has had 2 surgeries on her foot, hence only playing 6 tournaments all year.

Come on guys if Rafa or Fed had only played 6 tournaments for the year the story would have been that due to back troubles or the knees that is the reason why so and so have only played 6 tournaments. Give the woman her due. It is not like she is lounging on a beach somewhere. The Grand Slams as we all know are important to her and to miss her home major because of surgery, come on, who could be faking that?

No one doubts that Justine hurt her elbow when she fell at Wimbledon, but we take her word for it because we saw it happen. The fact that we did not see Serena's foot when it got cut does not mean it did not happen. How many of us saw when Ana hurt her foot at Cincy? How many knew that Clijsters' foot became infected, so much so that she required surgery to remove a mole and not play the whole fall season, except for the Year End Championships.

Let us fool no one. These players know how to plan their schedules, but sometimes injuries do happen and they need to allow themselves time to heal.

Posted by rafadoc...Waka Waka...Its Stanzi time! 11/02/2010 at 01:14 PM

Hi Lump-when is that match?

Posted by Lump Of Kohlschreiber (this space for rent) 11/02/2010 at 01:15 PM

Djoker holds at love 1-0. Somewhere Roger is doing something.

Posted by rafadoc...Waka Waka...Its Stanzi time! 11/02/2010 at 01:15 PM

Okay...Ferru holds 1-1. Vamos David!

Posted by Lump Of Kohlschreiber (this space for rent) 11/02/2010 at 01:18 PM

Now on ATDHE. Gulbis holds easily 1-1. Roger still doing something somewhere.

Posted by rafadoc...Waka Waka...Its Stanzi time! 11/02/2010 at 01:18 PM

lol Lump.

So I guess Djokovic v. Gulbis is underway, no?

Posted by AO OPEN 11/02/2010 at 01:20 PM

DJOKO!

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