Concrete Elbow by Steve Tignor - The Rest of Oz
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The Rest of Oz 02/03/2010 - 1:04 PM

Mk Has this Aussie Open lingered in your mind the way other majors usually do? I have to say, three days later, that it hasn’t for me. Maybe it’s the raw distance of the event from where I live, which even wall-to-wall TV coverage can’t completely close. Or, more likely, it’s the fact that, as compelling as the tournament was, it didn’t come with a twist at the end. We’ve seen Roger Federer and Serena Williams do this kind of thing plenty of times before.

So before the blue courts and koalas dissolve entirely, before the players and their hardcore fans move onto South America—now we can get to the real tennis season!—and before the rest of the world moves on entirely, I’ll pin some words onto a few of the tournament's less historic happenings and personages.

ESPN’s Finals Coverage

Former Tennis.com editor Kamakshi Tandon and I have always agreed that the one thing tennis fans never agree on is the relative quality of the sport's commentators. Everyone has their own wildly varying opinion on who they like and loathe in the booth. Along those lines, fans can also argue about ESPN’s choice of matches in the early rounds, and the amount of time spent at the desk rather than showing racquets hitting balls. What I’m amazed about in the comments on this blog is how much tennis fans seem to despise every aspect of ESPN's coverage. Some perspective is in order: It’s still a thousand times better and more comprehensive than the Aussie Open coverage we got when I was growing up—or, more literally, a hundred times better, since there’s about a hundred more hours of it. I wrote yesterday about how this tournament has been the sport’s greatest success story over the last two decades. The only reason any American knows that to be true is that ESPN travels there to show it to us. I know it's a monster corporation, but with its money and its hours of coverage, the network has been a big part of the tournament’s renaissance.

That doesn’t mean I don’t groan when I can’t see what I want, and I hit the mute button at least once an evening. But I thought ESPN was at its best during the finals. Dick Enberg was kept far from Roger Federer; Cahill was solid as always at courtside; Fowler added some insight into Murray’s problems with decisiveness; and I liked the special end-of-set analysis by Cahill and Gilbert. None of you are going to argue with that, right? A

Li Na

After Li's upset of Venus Williams in the quarterfinals, I wrote that the shot I would likely remember most from this tournament was her forehand winner on match point. And it’s true, the thought of her swinging through her demons is still inspiring. I like her backhand, too. A

Marin Cilic

Call him a player’s player. The quiet giant may not have a lot of marquee value, and he doesn’t own a stroke that I love to watch—his forehand is pretty loopy and busy, and seeing him reach up for a serve hurts my back—but he’s a walking lesson in how to handle your emotions on court. He tries his best, and if it doesn’t work he moves on. Maybe my new motto on court should be WWMD: What would Marin do? A

The Trophy Presentations

Part of the reason the ceremonies in Oz are so memorable is that they’re so well organized and produced. Having the players speak while facing directly into the camera at close range, with the lights in the stadium dimmed, rather than having them walk around with the mic, or take questions from the likes of Sue Barker, or pretend not to care about how much money they just won, makes all of the other Slams’ awards look hopelessly feckless and under-dramatized. A

Victoria Azarenka

We talked all tournament about how Justine Henin was going to bring scintillating tennis back to the WTA. But for a set and a half, Azarenka gave us all we needed. For most of her quarterfinal against Serena Williams, she was the player we thought she was going to be a year ago. Energized, athletic, harshly determined, with a beautiful killer backhand, she had the match in her hand but relaxed her grip for a point or two. It was enough to let Serena grab it back. Let’s hope it wasn’t enough to discourage Azarenka, who showed us there's been someone to watch on the women’s side all along. A-

Maria Kirilenko

I remember seeing her lose badly to Amelie Mauresmo years ago on the Grandstand at the U.S. Open. She was overpowered by a more athletic player, but I walked away impressed by Kirilenko’s mental approach. Even in the final game, when she was down something like 5-1, she played as if it were 3-3 in the third. All these years later, it was nice to see that fortitude rewarded with a big upset and a quarterfinal finish. A-

Martina Navratilova

She's not a Voice, like Dick Enberg, but to say that the Tennis Channel's lead analyst knows her tennis is a severe understatement. I'll say it anyway: Martina knows her tennis. A-

The Line Judge Who Called the Famous Foot Fault on Serena at the Open

Did you catch her, back on the baseline for the men’s final in Melbourne? Players should be happy to see her there: There’s no way they’re going to be called for crossing the line now. B+

John Isner

His continued success may be the surprise of the last 12 months; I really didn’t see him going this far, even with his serve. He must have a serious work ethic. Also surprising: I like watching him play. B+

Rafael Nadal

He got about halfway back to top form before the legs gave out again. That’s obviously a bad sign, but maybe worse was the fact that even when he was playing at a high level in their quarterfinal, Andy Murray still handled him. A men’s tour without Nadal around to keep Federer honest and at least semi-humble at the majors isn't a pleasant thought. If Federer can win Slams at will, every other smaller event that he doesn’t win will mean virtually nothing. B

Novak Djokovic

He once seemed so fierce and ambitious. Is he soft now, or too jumpy, vulnerable to nerves? I also wasn’t sure about the tweaks that he and Todd Martin seemed to have made to his game, especially on the serve. This was a dream draw; he should have just gone with what he does best. C+

Nikolay Davydenko

I said during the first week that Davydenko would eventually have to choose between being a character or a contender. Now it seems like the second option was never available. Upped half a grade for his press conference performances (though I don’t think they helped). Docked that same half a grade for his smiley handshake with Federer after their match. It was the same smile that Federer’s opponents gave him after he beat them at the French Open last year. It seemed to say, “the right guy won.” C

Kim Clijsters

Everyone has bad days, but Serena didn't let that keep her from scratching her way past Azarenka, and it didn't keep Henin from hanging around long enough for Kleybanova to self-destruct. D

Maria Sharapova

She bombed twice, once with her play and once with her dress. Advice for future Slam preparation: Spend at least as many minutes playing real warm-up matches as you do signing endorsement contracts. D

The Continued Presence of that Swiss-Flag-Colored Sign that Oh-So-Smugly Lectures Us, “Shhh. Quiet, Genius at Work” while Roger Federer is Playing or Warming Up

To paraphrase my fellow New Yorker Ratso Rizzo in Midnight Cowboy: “Hey, I’m talkin’ here, whether you like it or not.” F


 
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Posted by Rajat Jain 02/03/2010 at 01:48 PM

Great article, Steve! One reason I really like your articles because you say what NEEDS to be said! Even at the cost of going against the notion (like your grade on those Shh. Quiet ... poster, or the fact why need Rafa more than ever, meaning Rog winning slams at will etc.).

Posted by Alex 02/03/2010 at 01:59 PM

"Advice for future Slam preparation: Spend at least as many minutes playing real warm-up matches as you do signing endorsement contracts."

Slam.

Posted by Nic 02/03/2010 at 02:35 PM

Hey you forgot one: Louk Sorensen is the first Irish player to win a grand slam match in 25 years. To do so, Sorensen, ranked 284 in the world, beat Lu Yen-Hsun, who is ranked over 180 places higher at 101. He won in four sets going away too: 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 6-1. A+

Sorensen met John Isner in the second round. Ah well.

Posted by John 02/03/2010 at 02:46 PM

When I was watching Federer wax Tsonga in the semis, I was thinking to myself, "I really wish I was watching Federer/Djokovic instead..". Why does it seem like it's always something with Novak. Heat, exhaustion, stomach problems, breathing problems, strep throat, I really wish he could just be healthy and play some good tennis without all this other nonsense. He is an exciting player to watch and could win some more slams.

Posted by alex 02/03/2010 at 02:49 PM

Right on, Steve, but I have to take half a grade of you for grammar ...

"None of you ARE going to argue with that, right?"

Well, I'm afraid I have to, Steve ... "None (shortened compound of 'no one', or 'not one', therefore singular) of you IS going to argue with that, right?"

Posted by alex 02/03/2010 at 02:52 PM

And you can take a whole grade OFF (2 'F's) me for spelling :)

Posted by observer 02/03/2010 at 03:10 PM

Poor Maria. :( She's way too good not to keep winning grand slams, but this was an awful start to 2010, (even with those convincing exhibition victories.)

I hope she turns it around soon. Afterall, she's scheduled to win the French Open this year, right? (Bahaha... so unlikely but it would be so uncanny if it happened). W 04, USO 06, AO 08, FO 10.

Posted by md 02/03/2010 at 03:10 PM

kirilenko is rather beautiful also which helps

Posted by Avec Double Cordage 02/03/2010 at 03:12 PM

WWMD ...great! looks to me as if he's doing lot's of things that Borg did, perhaps that's why he's borging ;) I wonder what impact Ivanisevic will have on him as a coach, OK they both have been coached by Bob Brett but Goran... we'll see. Some time ago you had a column about Adriano Panatta, I just uploaded a recent interview with him and added english subtitles http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9c2n_3EC74 perhaps you're interested, he's also telling a story that involves Borg in party mood

Posted by independent 02/03/2010 at 03:14 PM


I like Azarenka, however she did not 'relax her grip' as you imply...let's give credit where credit is due. She faced Serena who stepped up her game to another level and snatched that match from Azarenka who was playing top notch tennis. Period. I do think Azarenka will be a force in 2010. I want to see her facing Kim, Henin, etc. and giving them a run for their money. Time for the young guns to step it up...no excuses.

Maria definitely needs to check herself if she wants to continue as a top player. We want her back so hope she puts in the time to get her game together.

Davy should have whipped Fed, but he let it slip...and I'm a Fed fan. Rivalries are important to the game and it's exciting when the fans have 2 players with the chops to beat each other...otherwise it's boring and gets stale. We need Nadal, Djok, Delpo and others to keep the rivalries alive.

Look forward to what Cilic has to offer this year.

Posted by thai 02/03/2010 at 03:21 PM

i think "are" is correct because the subject is not "none" but "you" and you in this case--the readers--is plural and not singular so the verb "is" would be incorrect.

Posted by Tfactor 02/03/2010 at 03:25 PM

I really enjoyed this post Pete.
The AO left me with mixed emotions but I refuse to dwell on the negative so I will mention one very positive thing for me: I discover Marin Cilic.
I know he's been around for a while now and has been talked about as someone with great potential. I have to say until now I just didn't see it (or maybe never paid enough attention) He really impressed me not just for his tennis but for his ability to keep a level head both on court and off.

Posted by Tfactor 02/03/2010 at 03:26 PM

Oops sorry, of course I meant STEVE :)

Posted by Jamaica Karen 02/03/2010 at 03:34 PM

The first time I took notice of Cilic was actually 2 seasons ago during the USO Series when he played in New Haven against Mardy Fish. At that time the Fish bowl was giving him hell as they were loud and just being really nasty. I recall coming here and posting about it and started cheering for him to win. He really impressed me at the time with the way he kept his composure through all the noise and went on to win the match. There was a poster here by the name of Bismarck who used to talk about him all the time but that New Haven match made me sit up and take notice.

Posted by Pspace (The Curse of Tommy Robredo) 02/03/2010 at 03:43 PM

Nice thoughts, Steve. I'll give you an A+ for the choice of picture accompanying this article ;-).

I agree with you about the commentary. Brad Gilbert has grown on me...I really like his over-enthusiastic approach. He's like a kid in a toy store...in a good way.

Surprised that there was no mention of the other semi-finalist...Tsonga. I guess I'd give him a B for his play up to the SF, and a C for his effort there. Overall, B-/C+ perhaps.

Posted by VC 02/03/2010 at 03:49 PM

F for Kimmie's (non)performance against Petrova.

Posted by Russ 02/03/2010 at 04:09 PM

I say the "Quiet Genius" folks are not nearly as annoying as the J-Block when J was relevant.

Posted by Russ 02/03/2010 at 04:12 PM

And poor Tsonga doesn't even get a grade?

Posted by John 02/03/2010 at 04:16 PM

Best blog picture ever.

Posted by W 02/03/2010 at 04:18 PM

Alex,

If you're going to correct Steve's grammar, then you should know that "none" is an indefinite pronoun that can either be singular or plural depending on the prepositional phrase that follows it (others like it are some, any, all, most/more). In this case "of you" is plural because Steve means all of us avid readers of Concrete Elbow. Steve's sentence stating that "none of you are" is perfectly fine. So please, take off two F's and anymore poor future attempts at humor. Thanks.

Posted by Well Left 02/03/2010 at 04:24 PM

Djokovic is officially soft- awesome proclamation, man!

Commentary on the awards presentation seems unfortunate. ESPN's replay actually trimmed 4 games or so from the men's final so we could watch all of the ceremony. That's messed up, should have cost ESPN half a grade.

PMac deserved an A+ for describing everyone ranked lower than #1 as 'pretenders to the crown'. Too true.
Enjoy the salami. 4 more W's makes 10 and I told you so.

Posted by yello fuzzy 02/03/2010 at 04:29 PM

Russ
Steve rarely has anything positive to say about players that have a certain..er background .And if he does, he will include something negative about them

Posted by Frank 02/03/2010 at 04:47 PM

I give an "A" to whoever selected the photo of Maria Kirilenko for this article.
Subsequently, I give an "A" — and I'm sure my fellow male hot-blooded 20-somethings will too — to Kirilenko for being the sexiest gal on the WTA right now.Damn.

Posted by Conrad Ramirez 02/03/2010 at 04:49 PM

Have to agree with the bulk of what's up here. But, it remains an absolute certainty that the only person in control of their tennis fate is Serena. Davydenko loosened his grip on Federer; Azarenka was moved by an irresistible force.

A fun fact: Serena hit more aces than Federer did throughout the fortnight... and he plays 3 out of 5.

Posted by Corrie 02/03/2010 at 04:49 PM

Speaking as a Fed fan, I totally agree Steve, about that smug, red banner that Fed's devoted fans cart around the world. Some of them take fandom just too far.

Posted by prince pro 110 02/03/2010 at 04:50 PM

Steve:

Thanks for the recap and agree with most of your comments as usual.

-Glad to see you are back on the home page.....I know the editor took your spot...hope it doesn't happen again during the other majors in 2010!

Cilic has got to have some of the best court movement(feet) on tour next to the great one Roger the Dodger!

Clijsters did not want another match with Henin just yet.....hence the tanker!

Isner is pain for me to watch.......and I have tried!

Posted by Prawn 02/03/2010 at 04:50 PM

Hey, what about Zheng Jie? I noticed that you put the quarterfinalists Kirilenko and Azarenka on your list, but skipped Zheng? Also, as mentioned before, why skip Tsonga too?

Posted by Jay Thomas 02/03/2010 at 04:55 PM

I enjoy most of ESPN's coverage. Many complain when non-tennis experts are part of the on-air talent, but I really enjoy Chris Fowler's enthusiasm for the sport. I also like that they all seem to get along and enjoy working with each other. Not to mention the fact that there are some great tennis minds on staff.

Posted by Or 02/03/2010 at 04:58 PM

Try not to run into any RF.com gang any time soon, Steve.

Seriously now, it's the same sign being passed around the globe, signed by Fed Fans all over the world. I find that a pretty amazing.

Posted by Netprophet 02/03/2010 at 05:04 PM

I realized that one of the main reasons I prefer the coverage of Melbourne vs Wimby or US Open is no John McEnroe and his underhanded comments about some of the lesser players. Much prefer Patrick who is much more gracious. PM works well with Chris Fowler and along with Chris McKendry, Killer Cahill, Brad G, Mary Jo, Pam Shriver; they all did a superb job. While Dick enberg is likeable, I much prefer Chris Fowler who has a better understanding of the game.

Posted by Master Ace 02/03/2010 at 05:10 PM

Believe it or not ESPN2 coverage has improved with Chris Fowler being assigned to cover tennis whether he is at the desk directing traffic or in the commentating booth doing matches. Wonder if Chris Fowler will be the man doing the main matches(ie - AO ATP final)in the future as Dick Enberg and/or Cliff Drysdale will retire in the near future. However, I wonder why Dick Enberg and Mary Carillo did the WTA final especially after Mary continued to bring up the USO tirade in all of Serena's early round matches.

Posted by Mr. X 02/03/2010 at 05:15 PM

Nice post, Steve. I'll give it an A+ only for the photo:)
I must say i agree with most of the grades, and specially with what you say about Azarenka and Cilic. She was nothing short of impressive in that match, and she didnt choke. She just stepped it down a little bit, and the hurricane took her down. Maybe i would give a worst grade to Kolya. After all the "scary" talk, he looked donwnright terrified during the 2nd and 3rd sets of his QF match, the match that could have taken him to the next level.
Oh, and so much word on the "Genius at work" thing.

Posted by Mr. T. 02/03/2010 at 05:21 PM

Steve - I can not argue with your grades. Davydenko does look like he is more of a character especially after his funny press conference. I thought Gilbert and Pat McEnroe were very good during the Murray - Nadal match but were very annoying during some of the other matches where they just kept saying the same thing over and over. I liked your last grade with the famous Ratso quote.

Posted by Tfactor 02/03/2010 at 05:26 PM

Now that someone else mentioned it I remember that Cilic's movement was one of the things that stood out for me. I wouldn't necessarily say he's fast but more like his movement is very efficient and not clumsy as it may appear to be for some of the taller players.

Posted by Tfactor 02/03/2010 at 05:32 PM

Oh and I will admit to liking Brad Gilbert (I may be one of the very few)
He may be silly or even annoying at times but it seems to me that with him what you see is what you get unlike some of his colleagues.

Posted by alex 02/03/2010 at 05:54 PM

W -

Touchy! 'None', not 'you', is the nominative and is always singular - being negative never makes anything plural; i.e. "None of you are ..." is no more correct than "One of you are ...". Some challenge this but don't have logic on their side. By the way, putting apostrophes (not apostrophe's) in before an 's' is not the right way to pluralise (or pluralize, if you're American), so you should really say "two Fs".

now that ive done that I can get back to normal again - vocab n grammar don't apply to the plebs, just writers. btw, altho written lightheartedly, it wasn't an attempt at homour, just to help someone for whom writing earns the bucks. so chill.

Posted by P 02/03/2010 at 06:05 PM

nice article Steve.

and to echo the sentiment above, Dick Enberg should be forced to retire. talks nonsense and his conduct at the US Open final (presentation) made tennis fans cringe.

Posted by Susanna728 02/03/2010 at 06:09 PM

Steve - Pretty much agree with everything you said. I do appreciate the fact that ESPN provides so much coverage - although I have several of the gripes you mention: Not enough coverage of the outer courts early in the tournament (seeing only the match point doesn't do much for me); and too much desk time. I really enjoy Cahill, BG, PMac and Fowler. Not sure I would give quite that high a grade to Azarenka. I've seen her play live, as well as on TV, and I love to watch her. She's concentrated and ferocious, but often it seems like she gets off to a great start but then lets the big ones slip away, with or without Serena. Hope she does better this year. I enjoy watching Novak play a lot more than i used to because he seems like he's enjoying it more himself (and ignoring his glaring father who used to look like he might chop Novak's hand off if he lost). I gave him props for playing three more sets after getting sick early on.

Posted by Babe 02/03/2010 at 06:21 PM

"I like Azarenka, however she did not 'relax her grip' as you imply...let's give credit where credit is due. She faced Serena who stepped up her game to another level and snatched that match from Azarenka who was playing top notch tennis. Period."

Amen--independent. It's called revisionist history. If Azarenka didn't loosen her grip then Serena wouldn't have beaten her. Yea, it couldn't possibly be what everyone saw; that Serena simply decided that she wasn't ready to go home. The same rubbish has been repeated ad nauseum about last year's match: Yes, she was on her way to beating Serena; oooh if only she hadn't gotten dizzy. Give me a break!

Posted by cavedweller 02/03/2010 at 06:22 PM

Steve - You might have ended your piece not with the Ratzo comment but Fed's comment to the umpire at the US Open Final: "Don't tell me not to talk. I'll talk when I want to talk".

Posted by Babe 02/03/2010 at 06:27 PM

The problem for Fed's opponents now is that he is no longer under the pressure pot like he was for many years. After all, is every match for the past four or more years he was the one with the pressure--he was always the hunted which is the toughest spot to be in. I believe that the job for his opponents--including Nadal--is now very difficult. He is now playing with house-money & I think his rivalry with Nadal will take on a very different dimension.

Posted by Babe 02/03/2010 at 06:34 PM

"Believe it or not ESPN2 coverage has improved with Chris Fowler being assigned to cover tennis whether he is at the desk directing traffic or in the commentating booth doing matches. Wonder if Chris Fowler will be the man doing the main matches(ie - AO ATP final)in the future as Dick Enberg and/or Cliff Drysdale will retire in the near future. However, I wonder why Dick Enberg and Mary Carillo did the WTA final especially after Mary continued to bring up the USO tirade in all of Serena's early round matches."

I wondered the same thing, MA. Though she didn't bring it up--there was just something off about those two calling that match. I think Carillo should be kept as far away from Serena as possible. ALso, I think him, Mary & Mary Jo make an awful team.

I also like Chris Fowler--I like the fact that he speaks his mind & is not bullied by the others. He may not be a tennis "expert" but he is intelligent and works had to present an objective view--unlike some of them.

I thought the new lady did a very good job too.

Posted by Babe 02/03/2010 at 06:36 PM

"Oh and I will admit to liking Brad Gilbert (I may be one of the very few)
He may be silly or even annoying at times but it seems to me that with him what you see is what you get unlike some of his colleagues."

I concur.

Posted by ladyjulia 02/03/2010 at 06:38 PM

"I think his rivalry with Nadal will take on a very different dimension. "

From your words, Babe, to Federer's brain somehow.

Posted by Ruth 02/03/2010 at 06:41 PM

" wonder why Dick Enberg and Mary Carillo did the WTA final especially after Mary continued to bring up the USO tirade in all of Serena's early round matches."

Maybe, Master Ace, ESPN wanted to show us that Carillo could do a match without wasting time talking about the USO incident -- as they probably instructed her to do. :).

I was very impressed by the way Azarenka played in the earlier parts of the match and the way she behaved maturely when Serena took the match from her. I expect her to do very well this year if her play and her behavior at the AO continue in the same upward direction.

TFactor: I'm also a fan of Brad Gilbert...have admired his analysis, like his enthusiasm for the sport -- and, as many people know, I think that he's one of the best coaches around.

Whether he was tired or not, Tsonga's with-a-whimper departure from the AO makes me not care one bit that he wasn't mentioned on Steve's list, especially since I would have given him a bad grade for his performance. If it turns out that he was injured, I'll recant, but if not...Pftt.

Posted by Stewart 02/03/2010 at 06:53 PM

Completely agree with Conrad Ramirez. Federer didn't win his quarter so much as Kolya lost it. Not to say he didn't play well, but Davydenko went from ON to OFF, with nothing in between. If he had just played well after that terrific start he would have won.

Azarenka, on the other hand, there wasn't much more that she could do other than try and go for more difficult winners when she saw the BEAST had been awakened within Serena - why it took so long for it come out is anyone's guess.

Posted by Stewart 02/03/2010 at 06:59 PM

And Pam Shriver is by far the worst commentator of the bunch. Dick Enberg I used to like but I've noticed he has a penchant for talking too often, and quite frequently makes blatant errors about the score or past history between players and no one corrects him. He's still better than Pam because of his earnesty - I was pissed about the Delpo Spanish gaffe, but he was in a tough position and made the wrong move. The winner's ceremony is about the victor, not the network - they've already caved to that too much in playing Super Semifinal Saturday.

As some of you may have seen in my earlier posts, Pam Shriver was downright petty and malicious during the Azarenka/Zvonereva match, which from the sounds of it few people stayed up to see, but for me it was the most competitive match of the tourament. But Shiver and MJ Fernandez were pretty much taking bets on which girl would break down cry first (neither did).

Posted by sally 02/03/2010 at 07:01 PM

uso should take a page out of ao esp
regarding trophy ceremony. poor delpotro
had to practically beg game show host
enberg for the mic to talk. atrocious.

Posted by Andrew 02/03/2010 at 07:09 PM

ESPN: it's a bit of a curate's egg. When they're good, they're terrific. Cahill is the best color commentator in the sport - never obvious, invariably insightful, just the right length, knows the players and their styles. Chris Fowler is extremely good for a non expert, but he (and some of the other guys) have a tendency to become snarky, sometimes acting as if a match is done and dusted after two sets (see, for example, Federer-Tsonga).

But the early coverage is just insane. Supposedly there's a cardinal rule in NFL coverage - never miss a snap (I assume never miss a pitch would be true of baseball). Several years ago, one of the big networks missed a long touchdown pass in a SuperBowl (Denver-Green Bay, I think) and the firestorm was immense.

At the AO, we get match coverage interrupted for highlights and studio interviews, or a main match is left while we switch to an outside court where Richard Whodat of the US is playing Georges Neverheardahim of Kazakstan. At least use picture-in-picture to show the action from the main match, even if you must show 10 minutes of Billie Jean King talking with Pam Shriver.

Posted by imjimmy 02/03/2010 at 07:15 PM

""Docked that same half a grade for his smiley handshake with Federer after their match. It was the same smile that Federer’s opponents gave him after he beat them at the French Open last year. It seemed to say, “the right guy won.” ""

Exactly right.

As far as I am concerned Davydenko should be given a D- grade. Davydenko displayed alack of moral fibre. The FIRST sign of resistance from Federer and he went belly up. Federer raised his game, but Davydenko was criminal in his cowardice and lack of fortitude. Davydenko should have his titles stripped and his reputation laid bare. It was an appalling display of cowardice and ineptitude by an experienced player who'd worked hard to give himself a shot against the top players.

Federer beat his opponents because they suffered an egregious dereliction of duty like Davydenko. That's why you get disappointed by performances such as his. So much for the strong era talk.

15 yrs ago, Davydenko wouldn't have made it out of the first round of kindergarten open..

Finally, expect the same as 2009 i.e Federer to go on a tear and win slams left and right - now that Nadal is done..

Posted by imjimmy 02/03/2010 at 07:16 PM

^^^ Thankfully no one will "ever" talk of Davydenko, as slam material, again...

Posted by tellmeJO 02/03/2010 at 07:22 PM

I'm sorry ... that is slightly unwarranted towards Sharapova. She won Aussie 08 without playing a warmup tournament. In fact she played the exact same exo in Hong Kong and didn't even play as well during that occassion...(losing to Venus in the finals...) This year she played Venus, Wozniacki, and Zheng leading up. She also played an exo against Dulko.

Posted by sally 02/03/2010 at 07:23 PM

imjimmy-do you think nadal is really done?
he can still win the french

Posted by Brian 02/03/2010 at 07:39 PM

I think you were quite generous to give Sharapova a "D". That was an "F" in every aspect. Seventy unforced errors in 3 sets. Pathetic. She stubbornly refused to change tactics and was content to dump shot after shot into the net.

Most of the Women tennis matches in general were so painful to watch. When are these women going to understand that trying to hit a down-the-line winner off of a deep cross court shot will yield an error 95% of the time.

Posted by Kombo 02/03/2010 at 07:55 PM

5 stars for Cilic, I enjoy his approach to the game. While Isner's never gonna hit jaw-dropping short backhands or any other circus shots, his baseline play has improved and his not hesitant to pull the trigger with his forehand. Good for him.

Posted by Kombo 02/03/2010 at 07:57 PM

I also give some extra credit to Delpo for 'losing the right way.' Worn out and with a niggling injury he was still a tough out for Cilic, this bodes well for him going forward.

Posted by imjimmy 02/03/2010 at 08:01 PM

sally - dunno, but it might be close with his body breaking down again. Let's hope not. He's one of the very few with marbles in his pants..

Posted by Chris 02/03/2010 at 08:01 PM

I am happy to see that your jealousy has taken you to another level in trying to diminish the effort Roger's fans put in. A banner being smug. You stupid little man. His fans can be proud for sticking with him when you all from the brainless media were writing him off. And yes I am smug, you slug.

Posted by imjimmy 02/03/2010 at 08:03 PM

""I also give some extra credit to Delpo for 'losing the right way.' Worn out and with a niggling injury he was still a tough out for Cilic, this bodes well for him going forward. ""

+1. Might turn out to be the only notable player (in this era) after Fed and Nadal. He played like a champion even when he was going down.

Delpo's heart is as big as Beunos Aires...

Posted by ncot 02/03/2010 at 08:20 PM

venus williams: B. while the likes of jankovic, kimmy, ivanovic, and safina were busy underachieving, she is still fighting. yes, she got tentative serving for the match, but na li was also playing exceptionally well at matchpoint (she got an A from tignor right?).

Posted by london 02/03/2010 at 08:48 PM

you were generous with a lot of these grades. seemed like a lot of people got A's. sharapova above anyone else deserved an F--.

Posted by Tim (Year of Aussie Rogie ) 02/03/2010 at 09:16 PM

what's smug about the truth, steve? is he not a genius at work? if its true, its not bragging, is it? :)

Posted by BB 02/03/2010 at 09:20 PM

I was frustrated with ESPN's coverage of the AO. They would frequently interrupt the matches to hear and see themselves talk. Other than Darren Cahill, Pat M., and Chris Fowler, the rest should be kicked out. Pam Shriver and Mary Carrilo need to take a lesson from Navratilova in commentating. These ladies don't sound very knowledgeable and have shrill and unpleasant personalities.

Frankly, I think Brad Gilbert is very biased. He's been drooling over Murray since I don't know when and always seems to have him slated to win.

After watching Europe's coverage of tennis tournaments, I find ESPN quite pitiful. I give them a D.

Posted by Longhorn Tennis 02/03/2010 at 09:47 PM

I have to disagree about ESPN's coverage. Less talk and more matches please. Thank goodness I have DirecTV where I have the option of choosing 6 different matches without the usual talking heads pontificating and just enjoy matches.
An F for the Genius banner, really? It's been a tradition since 2k6 and has been all around the world and signed by RF himself. It's famous. What's wrong with fans showing support to their man? I guess you're just irritated because you didn't even pick Roger to be in the final.

Posted by observer 02/03/2010 at 10:34 PM

I can't believe all the complaints about ESPN's coverage. Do you people have any idea how much worse it SHOULD be (not could, but should) considering how little of an audience tennis actually draws, especially the early rounds, and especially in the AO where it comes on at the most ungodly hours in the states? ESPN devoted sooo much time to the AO this year, replaying practically every marquis match in the daytime after showing it live at night. Some of the commentators should be quiet more often. Some of them are good. Some clearly have agendas against certain players. Big deal. I would pay the price of atrocious commentating every match in order to get them to keep showing as much of it as they did, despite the fact that you know every person in the country who isn't obsessed with tennis was probably rolling his/her eyes every day when they flipped to ESPN2 and they were STILL showing no-name tennis matches all day and night.

Posted by jonnyep 02/03/2010 at 10:44 PM

have to agree with you- martina does know her tennis and is without a doubt the best tennis commentator out there. now only if ESPN would pick her up so she could be heard more widely than on the not widely distributed Tennis Channel. But still a pleasure to have her at all- she really does know her tennis.

Posted by BB 02/03/2010 at 11:01 PM

'Observer'-it's not about how much coverage ESPN is providing as much as how it's providing it. The commentators are self-obsessed and oblivious to the needs of their audience. Most tennis lovers want to see good tennis matches and not necessarily "American" matches.
Their excessive talking at inopportune times and their personal agendas are not what tennis fans care about. A case in point is their interview with John Isner when the Federer-Andreev match was in progress at a very exciting point.
Most people I know are extremely unhappy with ESPN's broadcast and broadcasters. But due to limited appeal of tennis to the general public (as you say),we are at their mercy.

Posted by Bibi 02/03/2010 at 11:26 PM

D- for Pam Shriver. She is too relaxed in her miserable behavior on camera. M. Sharapova had no chance in that dress. That was just plain awful.
As a Novak fan I was very disappointed with his lack of composure-actually irritated.

Posted by Redbird Craig 02/03/2010 at 11:41 PM

I agree that ESPN's main fault is that they occasionally seem to consider their "talking heads" time as important as the matches themselves. I don't mind them cutting away for analysis, especially when they manage to get 3 or 4 of the commentators together to bounce ideas off each other, but sometimes they break away from a match at an important juncture for no apparent reason.

Overall, I like the coverage, though. Hey, anyone who shows any event for 100 hours is going to have some bad moments along the way or get someone p---ed off because their favorite player is getting shorted in coverage, but overall I enjoy their coverage.

My only other problem is that Dick Enberg happens too much. He used to be the Man, the one whose presence told you this was an important event you're watching, but now he seems to spend his time leering at female players and looking for moments to awkwardly inject some turn of a phrase he clearly wrote on the plane to Oz.

Posted by Wes 02/04/2010 at 12:22 AM

I am not sure if Sharapova not having played real tune-up tournament being the real issue. The other participants in the exhibition in Hong Kong, Dulko, Wozniacki, Zvonareva, Venus Williams, Azarenka, and Zheng Jie, all fared pretty well in the tournament, especially with 3 of the the 8 quarterfinals spots taken by that group and Zheng making it to the semis taking advantage of the draw. Granted that Zheng and Azarenka both played three matches after the exhibition, Wozniacki and Venus only played one match and lost.

Posted by mcakron 02/04/2010 at 12:50 AM

Steve T -- thanks for the refreshing perspective on ESPN. I would generally grade their coverage very high. There are certainly things I would change or don't like (too numerous to list here), but like you, I remember the years when there was no coverage of AO at all in the States until ESPN itself stepped in and began televising a portion of the event in the mid/late eighties. As you and others have noted, the fact that they offered 100 hours of live coverage on a popular/accessible cable channel is akin to the network/affiliate coverage we receive for an entire Olympic games. One night during the first week they offered thirteen straight hours of coverage alone. As far as the incessant piling on goes, I'd remind people not to the let the pursuit of perfection be the enemy of the existing good. Some tweaks, sure, but we may rue the day if ESPN gets out of the business of covering Slams.

Couple of other things. I too think the trophy presentations at the AO, along w/ the FO, is the best of the Slams. As you said, there's no awkward Sue Barker interview as at Wimby, nor any of the crass commercialism that infects the USO. Now whether players should address the crowd is another matter. I thought the Fed/Murray presentation came off remarkably well, and was very poignant from Murray's end, but too often these things make me wince and have an exploitative air about them.

Lastly, agree about Azarenka. Hope the loss encourages her as opposed to discourages. What I liked from her at the AO was that I didn't see the amount of self-flaggelation from her after every UFE as in the past -- in short, her emotions are a little more in check. But I'd still like some variety added to her game; not a huge makeover, just a reliable chip or slice. She'll need that if she ever hopes to beat Serena consistently at a Slam. Pace alone will not do it.

Posted by FoT 02/04/2010 at 01:12 AM

Hey Steve - I actually love that banner. It's one of the traditions (along with the red envelope) that the gang at rf.com have incorporated for the fans. It's something we look forward to seeing at all of Roger's tournaments. Don't you think it's remarkable that the fans can coordinate making sure that banner goes all over the world to whatever tournament Roger is playing in?! That's great to me and it makes the fans seem part of - well - Roger. It's a tradition and I love it. Sorry, but I do!

Posted by Corrie 02/04/2010 at 01:17 AM

Everything's relative. From what I've heard, the journalists and players here in Melbourne vastly preferred to watch the ESPN coverage than the pathetic broadcasting of the local CH 7, which this year had a monopoly, and took full advantage of it by being as awful as it possibly could.

It's been inundated with complaints, especially when it cut away from Fed Davy when latter was up a set and a break to show news and soaps for 90 minutes - all that when they've got a second digital channel they won't use and this year also prevented pay TV from broadcasting by demanding vastly greater amounts of money.

The only thing I like about Ch 7 is Courier's on court interviews, and only some of them too. Everything else I'd swap in a flash with ESPN, so give thanks for small mercies you U.S. people.

Posted by mcakron 02/04/2010 at 01:22 AM

I, too, am skeptical of the whole Nole/Todd Martin hookup. But then again, Nole was playing better than anyone post-USO (prior to DavyD) so maybe the arrangement will pay dividends in the end. Still, it is weird that the Djoker's serve is no longer the threat it once was. Remember when even Federer had a hard time reading it?

Posted by mcakron 02/04/2010 at 01:28 AM

Thank you, Corrie. I'm in the States, and as Steven indicated, the criticism of ESPN on TW was a bit over-the-top, almost spoiled and bratty. I had my issues, too (select announcers, interviews, nationalism, etc.), but big picture-wise I'm grateful.

Posted by mcakron 02/04/2010 at 01:32 AM

Oh, and sorry about Channel 7.

Posted by Smallobserver 02/04/2010 at 04:20 AM

I visit this site quite regularly for its articles and the commentary of the other readers but this is the first time I am writing something. What is the point of dragging that line-judge and giving her a B+. What is the bloody point? She did her duty and was dragged into a controversy because of appalling behaviour on the part of a player which is unforgivable. Can't we leave the line-judge alone?

Posted by Geellis 02/04/2010 at 05:06 AM

To all you RF fanatics, I say, get a clue. FACT, after his humiliating loss to Rafa in the 2008 French (he won 4 games folks, how quickly you RF fans forget this), then his loss to Rafa at the 2008 Wimbledon, then his loss of the #1 ranking, again to Rafa, then his desperate loss to Rafa on the HC of Melbourne, it was clear to any sane person, that Roger was not likely to make it through a healthy Rafa anytime soon at an GS tournament. Only when Madrid came around (a tournament Rafa should never have played given its uselessness as a warm-up for RG due to the altitude) was there some light at the end of the tunnel. That said, no one, not a single expert, picked anyone other than Rafa to win the 2009 RG. Rafa's knees, however, had different expectations and the rest, as they say, is history. Therefore, make no mistake you silly little RF fans; the ONLY REASON your man has broken Pete's record is because the truly BEST player of this generation has a weak body. That means, Rafa will not likely contend for GOAT status, for that you need numbers that his body will not allow him to amass and RF's, to my eternal consternation, will. However, anyone with half an ounce of objectivity could see that the ascending Rafa had put RF in his rear-view mirror (to the tune of an advantage of 5,000 points over RF after last year's OZ open!!!!) Moral is, GET OVER YOUR SMUGNESS RF FANS!!!!

Posted by Geellis 02/04/2010 at 05:19 AM

As of 05/11/09, according to the ATP website rankings history, Rafa had 15,370 to 10,170 for Roger. That's a 5,000 point advtg over the GOAT/BOAT. And, FACT, Rafa's numerical advantage traversed a highway that almost ALWAYS went THROUGH Roger. Tiny little anecdote: does anyone believe that Roger could have made it through a match like Rafa had with Verdasco and then, less than 48 hours later come back for a repeat performance against the GOAT/BOAT? Hmmmmm. Silence. Cricket, cricket. Contrast that to Roger's re-emergence as the #1 player that has come at the expense of far less talented rivals than Rafa and you see, again, why it's clear that RF's reputation is unearned and way overblown.

Posted by Blockhead 02/04/2010 at 06:05 AM

Sorry but Navratilova gets a D in my book. She talks incessantly and lectures like a ruler-wielding school marm about anyone who's game doesn't measure up to her standards. She does know her tennis - but as a commentator - one should learn to insert comments periodically - to enhance a match. Martina never shuts up !! She talks on almost every point, then points out flaws in descision making, strategy, etc -- for every player on every point. I find it tiresome, arrogant and low quality.

You missed out on Mary Carillo - F minus. She did her classless best to bash Justine Henin all over again on some very well-worn issues during the women's final. The 'hand' at the French?? The retirement against Mauresmo ?? Are you kidding me Mary ?? !! Those issues were beaten to death years ago. Who cares ? This is several years later and a reformed Justine - who has always been the epitome of quiet class. Funny - but I didn't hear Carillo mention that Justine's opponent had recently threatened a linesperson, spewed profanity all over national TV, then acted like an arrogant b!tch in the days afterward. Carillo and the entire US team of coverage (I'm American) play such obvious favoritism to US players, it makes me sick. Henin was nothing short of total class (as usual) during the tournament, and didn't deserve any of the low-rent bashing of the publicity seeking Carillo.

Posted by Blockhead 02/04/2010 at 06:34 AM

Kudos on the spot on analysis Geellis !!

You can't be the GOAT when you're not even the best of your generation - period ! I look to one simple stat -- Nadal 13, Federer 7. If this were just one or two matches, I'd give the nod to Fed - but this is over 20 matches !

Here are some specs:

All Matches: Nadal 13-7
All Finals: Nadal 11–5
Grand Slams: Nadal 6–2
Grand Slam Finals: Nadal 5–2
Masters Series: Nadal 6–3
Masters Series Finals: Nadal 5–3

Sorry folks - but hard stats speak for themselves. You simply can NOT be the GOAT when you're getting your a$$ handed to you consistently by another player.

Posted by Master Ace 02/04/2010 at 08:08 AM

"Funny - but I didn't hear Carillo mention that Justine's opponent had recently threatened a linesperson, spewed profanity all over national TV, then acted like an arrogant b!tch in the days afterward"

Blockhead,
When Serena played in the early rounds and Carillo was assigned to her match, the USO tirade was brought up consistently and non-stop to the point where ESPN2 decided to pull her off Serena's matches until the final. I bet ESPN2 told her not to mention the USO tirade.

Posted by Master Ace 02/04/2010 at 08:11 AM

Geellis and Blockhead,
Federer fans,especially here at TW, would say to that is majority of those matches were on clay and Nadal can not make it to finals on other surfaces consistently especially the USO. Nadal did win when they met at AO in 2009 and at Wimbledon in 2008 but some Federer fans would tell you that he had mono and back issues in that time frame. Mike Golic on ESPN2 agree with you about not giving Federer the GOAT.

Posted by Blockhead 02/04/2010 at 08:30 AM


There's always an argument from Fed fans - but the numbers speak for themselves. HALF the matches were on clay - and let's not forget that it's not like Fed is a poor clay player.

As to Fed's supposed mono and back issues - it's not like Nadal's knees have EVER been 100%. There are always excuses from Fed fans as to why he loses / lost - but no mention of those issues when he wins.

Great players win at any expense - in big moments. Jimmy Connors won the US Open one year while having to run to the bathroom a couple of times each set because of dehydration and diarhea. Come on now ! That's toughing it out. Nadal is 13-7 -- end of story.

Posted by sally 02/04/2010 at 09:09 AM

the problem for roger is he let nadal
into his head, and has choked away a
number of matches to him because of
it.

Posted by Babe 02/04/2010 at 09:12 AM

"Frankly, I think Brad Gilbert is very biased. He's been drooling over Murray since I don't know when and always seems to have him slated to win."

I like Gilbert--but, I absolutely agree with this comment. It's almost like he's being paid (or something) to prop & promote Murray. He's a very big Nadal fan but also seems to have a problem with Fed--I have noticed that repeatedly. There's something there.

Posted by Babe 02/04/2010 at 09:24 AM

"My only other problem is that Dick Enberg happens too much. He used to be the Man, the one whose presence told you this was an important event you're watching, but now he seems to spend his time LEERING AT FEMALE PLAYERS...."

Oh, so true! And a tad creepy, if you ask me.

"looking for moments to awkwardly inject some turn of a phrase he clearly wrote on the plane to Oz."

LOL! It's time to send old Dick to the knacker's yard.

Posted by Ja 02/04/2010 at 09:25 AM

Geellis at 5:19:

Remember Roger's 5 years older then Rafa...

Posted by Fred 02/04/2010 at 09:48 AM

"the ONLY REASON your man has broken Pete's record is because the truly BEST player of this generation has a weak body"

Ah Geelis you're a pathetic loser let me tell you. The fact is that Nadal doesn't have aweak body like you said, he's a strong guy, he's simply paying the (dear) price for his way of playing. Get real dude, you can't play like Nadal and not getting injured. Not possible. Nadal has to make so many effort to maintain his level of tennis, it had to happened, it's part of his game. Many people knew he wasn't going to maintain his level for many years more. Federer on the other hand, he's a smarter player, he got more raw talent, it doesn't cost him as much. He's more consistent all year long, he's a more complete player. These are facts, and that's is why he's the goat.

Their H2H is in favour of Nadal, right. But Nadal is younger, and he's got more wins on clay. By the way did you forget Fed's mono and back issue as well ?!? Well it seems you remember only what suits you.

Posted by Amnesiac 02/04/2010 at 09:51 AM

Blockhead: Great players win at any expense - in big moments. Jimmy Connors won the US Open one year while having to run to the bathroom a couple of times each set because of dehydration and diarhea. Come on now ! That's toughing it out.

Not trying to provoke a Fedal war wars here so I will not even mention the smug and arrogant one, but, why did Nadal lose at RG2009? I personally thought there was nothing wrong with him. Yet, a lot of his fans were saying that Soderling only won because Rafa was not 100%. That his knees were bothering him. That a 100% Rafa would have beaten Soderling. More importantly, why did he retire during his match at the AO? Earlier in that match, he was celebrating a point with such absolute enthusiasm and vigor. And then on the third set, he retires. A great player win at any expense, so you say. But Rafa is a great player, the actual GOAT. He should have found a way to win at any expense against Soderling, a guy whom he clearly dislikes, heavenly creature and amazing human being that he is. And Murray, he owns him and this was a 5 setter. There is still a chance to beat him. But why did he retire? No excuses please.

Posted by Babe 02/04/2010 at 09:54 AM

Blockhead: your moniker suits you; you really are a blockhead.

Probably the most absurd statement you made (out of many absurd statements, mind you) is this one: "This is several years later and a reformed Justine - who has always been the epitome of quiet class. Funny - but I didn't hear Carillo mention that Justine's opponent had recently threatened a linesperson, spewed profanity all over national TV, then acted like an arrogant b!tch in the days afterward."

Yea, Mary Carillo loves Serena; yes, so much so that she accused her of "attempted murder" on national TV & then repeatedly screamed the need for her suspension at every opportunity--until she was silenced. Your head was probably blocked with selective righteous indignation at that point. Yes, Serena's sins are unforgivable but Saint Justine who has basically screwed over opponents repeatedly & remains unapologetic about it should be forgiven. Yep, how dare Serena feel outraged that a woman interfered at a critical juncture in an important match & called an undetermined foot fault. Yes, that Serena really should know her place.

But of course, St. Justine, when questioned a few days ago about quitting on Amelie because of a tummy ache--yea, she was real contrite when she responded "the only thing I would do different is not show up for the match at all". Yes, that's the way to show remorse.

Unfortunately for you, blockhead, Serena took what people like you dished out & you know her revenge; she has won the two biggest tournaments since then. Put that & your Federer condescensions in a pipe & smoke it.

Roger: 16 slams; Serena 12 slams. And as to both, just add, & counting!

Posted by will 02/04/2010 at 09:58 AM

thai, you tried to correct Alex, but Alex had it right. "NONE of you" should be followed by "IS." Subject here is "none." "You" comes after the preposition "of," which never makes it the subject.

Posted by will 02/04/2010 at 10:05 AM

Okay, thai, I stand corrected:

Apparently, the SAT testing service considers "none" as a singular word only. However, according to Merriam Webster's Dictionary of English Usage, "Clearly "none" has been both singular and plural since Old English and still is. The notion that it is singular only is a myth of unknown origin that appears to have arisen in the 19th century. If in context it seems like a singular to you, use a singular verb; if it seems like a plural, use a plural verb. Both are acceptable beyond serious criticism".

Posted by Blockhead 02/04/2010 at 10:05 AM


Babe--

Sure, I'll give you your Fed number - 16. No arguments there - it is what it is. Now here's mine - Nadal 13-7. It is what it is also.

Why should Justine show 'remorse' for retiring. She was sick - she retired. That's her option, as it is for any player at any time. End of story.

**Please post u-tube links for all of us on how 'Justine ... screwed over opponents...."

Thank you :)


Amnesiac :

I don't recall saying any player wins EVERY match - regarding your reference to Nadal/Soderling, etc. Has Roger lost to other players ? Hmmmm -- I seem to recall that happening over his career. I was commenting on Nadal v. Federer - which is pretty clearly laid out in my post. Please re-read if you're mistaken on this.

Posted by Babe 02/04/2010 at 10:10 AM

Geellis: whudda shudda cudda--doesn't cut it in the real world. Federer is the best EVER & the sooner you accept it the better off you'll be. Don't just look at the head-to-head, which is in Nadals' favor--look at their overall records v. other players because tennis is not a 2 man field. Federer has been at the very top a lot longer than Nadal--check & see how many finals Federer made it to in slams where Nadal fizzled out to lesser ranked opponents.

Nadal is a great player--no doubt; but he has not had Federer's success. Many of his losses cannot be explained away as injury-affected. He was beaten soundly by many of his opponents. Murray all but had the match won when his knee problems surfaced. Soderling beat him fair & square at the French & beat him again at the year-end. Davydenko has done it a couple of times when there was no injury as well. Nalbandian, Djokovic, Tsonga, Youzhny etc etc all have beaten him.

His playing style affects his body but that is is his choice to play that way. You can throw yourself around & win your share of matches but you will pay a price for it & that price is longevity. As his fan, you really should know all this.

To be considered one of the greatest you have to prove yourself through a generation of players over an extended period of time. If you can't do that then shudda wudda cudda aint gonna cut it.

Posted by Blockhead 02/04/2010 at 10:14 AM

Babe:

"Yep, how dare Serena feel outraged that a woman interfered at a critical juncture in an important match & called an undetermined foot fault. "


You're one of these dipsticks that thinks the rules of sport should only apply in certain situations. When they apply in situations you don't like - then you have an issue with said rules.

A linespersons JOB is to make the call they see, when they see it - regardless of whether or not BABE or Serena may like the outcome. Those are the RULES of the sport. Serena was called for foot faults on 3 other occasions over the 2 weeks of the US Open. You do the math - if you have the intelligence !

Posted by Blockhead 02/04/2010 at 10:22 AM

RULE 8
Foot Fault
(a) The Server shall throughout the delivery of the service:
(i) Not change his position by walking or running. The Server shall not by slight movements of the feet which do not materially affect the location originally taken up by him, be deemed "to change his position by walking or running".
(ii) Not touch, with either foot, any area other than that behind the base-line within the imaginary extensions of the center mark and side-lines.
(b) The word "foot" means the extremity of the leg below the ankle.


[ USTA Comment: This rule covers the most decisive stroke in the game, and there is no justification for its not being obeyed by players and enforced by officials.

***No official has the right to instruct any umpire to disregard violations of it.***

In a non-officiated match, the Receiver, or his partner, may call foot faults after all efforts (appeal to the server, request for an umpire, etc.) have failed and the foot faulting is so flagrant as to be clearly perceptible from the Receiver's side.]
It is improper for any official to warn a player that he is in danger of having a foot fault called on him. On the other hand if a player in all sincerity, asks for an explanation of how he foot faulted, either the Line Umpire or the Chair Umpire should give him that information.

Posted by geoff 02/04/2010 at 10:30 AM

the tour totally needs rafa (or someone) to keep federer at least "semi-humble" lolzzz! so true! and also what corrie says above. the smugness is a wee bit much.

Posted by mint32 02/04/2010 at 10:32 AM

martina simply talks too much...yes, she has great knowledge, but she has to learn to temper herself...your point about fed winning slams at will was spot on...i'm dreading all these weeks until roland garros...the other tourneys have never seemed so meaningless

Posted by Vincent 02/04/2010 at 10:38 AM

I just love the Shhh banner. Yes, Federer is a genius, a real genius, and I love that all the Fed-haters have to endure this banner, day after day after day. Hopefully it will still be there for years to come. Fed is GOAT. Case closed. Keep it up showing them, Fed !

As for poor, humble, injured Nadal, he's passed his physical peak. And his game was always about athleticism. Now watch him get spanked by Del Potro, Cilic, Murray. This boy is finished, you could just as well stick a fork in him. I remember very well, in Monte-Carlo 2008, as I predicted with glee that the day would come where Rafa would be definitively hobbled. The day has come, and know what ? Just like Fed, I'm enjoying every minute of it. Every crushing defeat is a pleasure. To see this one-dimensional clown getting blown off court, there's simply nothing better, apart from watching Fed retake, one after another, each and everyone of his titles. History will remember Nadal as what he really is : an overachiever who relied on an extraordinary (suspect) athleticism to snatch some titles, and then tapered off at an age where others just started to soar. Ha !

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