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Old Dog, No Trick 09/06/2006 - 8:16 PM

2006_09_05_safin Big day, Tribe: Lindsay, the brother-sister team of Marat and Dinara, Rafael, all gone. Call it bloody Wednesday - or the day the tournament recovered from the loss of Andre Agassi and decided it really was time to move on. I'll be posting later tonight, from home, on the Nadal/Youzhny match (pressers yet to come),  most of which I watched with good buddy Chris Clarey of The International Herald Tribune and the New York Times.

Meanwhile, here's yet another chapter from Marat Safin's Book of Hours, which I think some of you may find relevant to our ongoing discussion here at TW about whether Big Time tennis has more to do with the external appendages (the arm, and how reliably it executes technical and strategic mandates) or the internal organs (the heart and guts and how they respond to the challenge of competition):

Q. Can you talk about, when you go out to compete, how much of how you perform is mental, how you're thinking, where your head is. Or, is it a matter of training and how you've been doing and how you wake up that day?

MARAT SAFIN: No, is just not like that. We already in a ‑‑ at a high performance. Professionals, we basically dedicate ourselves, all our lives, to become what we are right now. So everything, it becomes mental after a while. Once you become pro and you become a pretty good pro, it just is not anymore the technique. It's not anymore the serve. It's not anymore the forehand, backhand, or serve and volley, something like that. It's just a mental thing to keep yourself cool sometimes, and sometimes to push yourself to risk it at important moments, or try to stay back and make the right decisions at the right moment.

Because everybody can play backhand and forehand. There's no problem. I think who is tougher mentally is winning basically. So this is just ‑‑ it's already ‑‑ who is better mentally prepared is basically top 10 players. It's unbelievable. They just focused throughout the match. No ups and downs. They know exactly what to do in important moments. That's why it makes such a big difference. Because tennis, everybody has.

Safin, who invariably is most articulate and soulful when he loses, also had some interesting things to say about his fellow Russians, as well as his sister Dinara. Among other things, he alluded to some advice he gave Dinara that apparently helped her come knocking at the door of the Top 10. A reporter, citing Dinara's frank admission that in classic kid sister fashion, she once was a racquet breaker par excellence, asked Marat if he had helped her "calm down." He replied:

Well, not exactly. She just put it in a different way. But I had some issues with her that doesn't ‑‑ I'm not gonna go into details. But some things I didn't really like, and I really told her, you know, because it's just ‑‑ it's unacceptable from her side to do some things on the court what she was doing before. Right now, she stopped doing that, looks like that. Look at her right now. She was top 50, 50, 60, 40, 30, jumping all around. Right now, she's basically cracking top 10. So it really worked. So it was pretty good advice, I guess (smiling).

I assume the pep talk Marat provided had to do with learning to fight, and to cease looking like she had just traveled 10 miles of bad emotional road each time she whacked a forehand into the windscreen.

Ever notice that nobody, but nobody, is better at playing the pot who called the kettle black than a big brother? This, in my sweeping and profund grasp of human psychology, is the reason most women (at least those who have older brothers) are so good (or is it bad?) at dealing with the knuckleheads they choose to date or marry, and, come to think of it, it may even by why they choose them: Please God, give me a good,old-fashioned know-it-all, do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do, it's my world kind of guy. . . and bingo, God dispatches Darwin to find them the Missing Link.

The follow up question was astute: "Is it advice you would follow for yourself?"

No, when you're 26, it's difficult to change. You can't teach the old dog to sit, huh?

Coy much, big guy? Remind us when to chime, in unison, "Oh. Of course. How silly of us to ask! Meanwhile, we'll all just tread water until you decide to break our hearts again.  . ."

It's a pity the big lug is out, though, isn't it?

Check out the transcripts; they're a good read. Jet Boy is due in the press room at 7:45, so talk amongst yourselves while I go take care of some business, okay?

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Posted by Tim 09/06/2006 at 08:28 PM

so predictions on Hewitt-Roddick?

Im going with the Aussie, who's too steady and returns well enough to bother Roddick, who isnt loooking that good in my opinion anymore ... but Hewitt is a good opponent for Roddick, I expect them to have good points ...lets face it, theyre extra pumped now that Nadal is out.. this is for the Open final, basically

Posted by steggy 09/06/2006 at 08:32 PM

Thought #1: The feminist weirdos are gonna eat you alive for that little slice of truth, Pete.

Thought #2: Hewitt over Roddick, given enough sets. It'll be a late night, I think.

Posted by misael 09/06/2006 at 08:32 PM

I'am going with Roddick,It seems like his time.

Posted by Ray Stonada 09/06/2006 at 08:33 PM

Wow, I'm really disappointed, being a Haas-disliker, that the Cap'n didn't come through. Credit to Haas and discredit to Marat for playing a lackluster fourth set and stoning the easy volley in the fifth set breaker. Dems da breaks, but sad he's gone.

D-Wiz, eat a good dinner and your lunch tomorrow, please!

And I feel for Rafa too - I've never seen him quite concede defeat like that (with a look of acceptance). That and his poor movement made me think something was wrong. I'm not making excuses for lil Rafito, but I don't think he was quite the same.

I'll take Hewitt over Roddick in 4. He's a better player, IMO.

Posted by Matt Zemek 09/06/2006 at 08:34 PM

Agree with Steggy.

Posted by temes 09/06/2006 at 08:35 PM

I'm scared of Matt Zemek, it seems like he has a MAJOR overdose of Nadal KA. That little episode there was just out-of-this-world...I just have to say. Just must. Because I'm just a tiny bit shocked.
Anyway, Timmy, I have absoutely nooo idea who will win that match, but I'd say Hewitt.

Posted by Pete 09/06/2006 at 08:36 PM

Gee Matt, why don't you and Steggy throw a little gas on the fire?

Posted by steggy 09/06/2006 at 08:38 PM

Someone needs to shove a ball gag into Austin's mouth. "Amazing". What was so amazing about Sharapova nearly falling butt over breasts to reach for a wide ball?

Posted by steggy 09/06/2006 at 08:39 PM

Pete: We prefer tactical nukes.

Posted by mici 09/06/2006 at 08:40 PM

what is golovin doing.

pepole always get on sharpova case- what is golving doing- not acsptable- in the rule but gamsnship.

Posted by Matt Zemek 09/06/2006 at 08:40 PM


I should have been clear about my statement: it applied only to thought number two.

I have no comment at press time on comment No. 1.

*smacks forehead*

Posted by Tim 09/06/2006 at 08:41 PM

thats whaat i was thinking, Stegs! what was amazing about a bad lob that Golovan butchered??

Posted by steggy 09/06/2006 at 08:41 PM

Matt: Wuss.

Posted by steggy 09/06/2006 at 08:43 PM

Ted's now seeing black helicopters over Blistergate.

Posted by temes 09/06/2006 at 08:43 PM

Sharapovas grunting is AWFUL, just imagine you playing an opponent that screams sooo loud that it hurts and you simply cannot concentrate well...I feel great sympathy for Golovin.

Posted by Tim 09/06/2006 at 08:44 PM

do femnisits even exist anymore? arent they probably just Democrats? lol

though I bet martina navratilova falls into that category you were chiding, Petie Boy, so watch out!

Posted by steggy 09/06/2006 at 08:44 PM

temes: You know who I feel sorry for, if the rumors are true? Roddick. Dude must have to wear earplugs to bed down with the Pig Slayer.

Posted by Matt Zemek 09/06/2006 at 08:45 PM

Wow, Steggy.

One person's scared of me, one thinks I'm a wuss, and a legendary tennis writer thinks I'm carrying around gasoline.

And I haven't written a single college football article today, either...

Posted by mici 09/06/2006 at 08:45 PM

Ray Stonada,

nothing nothing was worng with the movement, he was running scarmbeling like he always does.

he lost tonight because he met a real hard court player how used the right tactics.

look at past post, moya showed 2 everyone how the rellys with nadal should be and if you have great bh it will only help.

she his running in the last match and toinght- you want 2 belive but it isnt true.

Posted by steggy 09/06/2006 at 08:47 PM

Matt: I was joking. Sorta. ;)

Posted by Tim 09/06/2006 at 08:47 PM

Sharapova has 3 shots... no more, no less ... every volley is a forehand or backhand, and she can serve ... hate this kind of tennis, hate it hate it hate it... Sharpie is a competitor, and thank God she won the set, so we're not here 3 hours lol

Posted by temes 09/06/2006 at 08:47 PM

Steggy OMG! HAHAHHAHAHHEHEHHEHEHEHEHEH You almost killed me with that one.

Posted by daf 09/06/2006 at 08:49 PM

for once i'm glad i'm not in front of a tv. you poor guys, the shrieking banshee must be outdoing herself. go tati!!! lol

sadly, i'll have to say roddick will prevail. you can see the hunger in his eyes. at least if he gets to the final with fed, it'll be less of a snoozefest. hewitt has a tendency of allowing fed to bagel him.

Posted by Bob 09/06/2006 at 08:49 PM

Amazing, that a player could develop such a blister. All that tennis should give you very tough feet. Hell of a time for an injury time-out. I can only imagine if Justine tried that, even if the blood was soaking through her socks.

This was quite a bit of gamesmanship. She's had this blister for a few games, if it's already broken. Yet she didn't want treatment since she had broken Sharpova and was serving for the set. She waited until the momentum had shifted. And it's worked. I hope Sharapova takes the set. I mainly hope this only goes two sets, whoever wins the first. Golovin does not belong in a slam semi, with this kind of tennis. Will pure luck on a net cord decide this set?

Hopefully the second set will go a bit quicker. Golovin is pong, but can't handle the hard shots to her backhand corner. Pretty lousy tennis from Sharapova. Perhaps it will be another Amelie-Justine final.

Posted by temes 09/06/2006 at 08:50 PM

Now people you can feel superiority over me because I find jokes that relate to sexual things very amusing but I do. hehehahahhahah

Posted by Matt Zemek 09/06/2006 at 08:50 PM

Hey, we had a point in that Sharapova-Golovin tiebreak that fit in perfectly with Pete's post, and specifically, the quote excerpt from Marat about knowing when to be aggressive and when to stay back.

At 4-all in the tiebreak, Golovin clocked a forehand to get Maria on the defensive. But instead of hammering her follow-up shot and/or coming in on it, she hit a bland mid-court ball that enabled Maria to get back to neutral position on the point. That Maria got a lucky net-cord was a wise judgment on the part of the tennis gods. They punished Golovin for lacking Mats Wilander's favorite bodily organ.

Sharapova--as much as I don't care much for her game aesthetically--deserved that tiebreak, and the set that went with it.


Is there an Improv in your community? Get thee to a mic.

Posted by mici 09/06/2006 at 08:52 PM

steggy, I cant belive you worte that about sharpove.

what do you say when nadal does this noice, he is the laudest from the man.

and the wilames sisters.

last year wimbeldon sami VEE WILIAMES V SHARPOVA, couldnt belive the noice from both players, both so loued, but every 2 talking about maria only why because she is pretty and makes a lot of momeny pepole want 2 pot her down.

now tell me what pepole would say if maria did what tati just doen- she will never hear the end of it.

her game is not my fevoriet, but for me that was un called for

Posted by Pete 09/06/2006 at 08:52 PM

Matt: your assignment, since you're clearly in football withdrawal, is to create a starting offensive and/or defensive unit out of the clay of tennis players (safin is the one who's playing without the helmet)

Posted by Jen 09/06/2006 at 08:54 PM

I don't understand how Sharapova never gets a sore throat.
Doesn't she need her tonsils out??

Posted by steggy 09/06/2006 at 08:54 PM

mici: Oh, quit stirring the Nadal pot and therefor his fans. It's like tarring and feathering an already drawn and quartered corpse.

Posted by Lucy 09/06/2006 at 08:55 PM

Well well well, what do you know. Marat Safin, Captain of the All-Headcase Allstars, technical genius, tennis talent par excellence, and total nutjob, comes down in favour of head/heart in the Great TennisWorld Debate. Who woulda thought? He is a total knucklehead, and I love him to bits and miss him already.

BTW I consider myself a feminist of sorts, and I wasn't offended by this post.

Posted by Bob 09/06/2006 at 08:55 PM

If we do get a Sharapova-Justine final, that will certainly be a bloodbath of aggression. I do like Sharapova's aggression, but she needs something delivered to her, to take control. She doesn't have as much of a transition game as for example Justine.

Posted by temes 09/06/2006 at 08:58 PM

I numb to all other forms of aggression on a tennis court after all those all-Williams finals, Bob.

Posted by mici 09/06/2006 at 09:04 PM

steggy , 2 get away from my point.

what you said of maria was un-called for.

I just heat doubell standert.

maria screms- but the wilems sister dont and nadal doesnt.

maria celbriet Ufe- and henin doesnt

hewitt celbret Ufe and does his comeon in your face way- and nadal doesnt.

I just want that when players do the same thing time and time again- pepole will speak about it the same way.

what do you think about what tati has doen in the tie-break????

and for the record:
I like watching tati more that sharpove.

Posted by kiwibee 09/06/2006 at 09:05 PM

Oh gosh,Sharpie is sooooo annoying with her screaming....arghhh..
Tati is so quiet and cute. Why can't Sharpie keep her mouth shut?

Posted by Kim 09/06/2006 at 09:06 PM

steggy, love it, please.... write more about that pig slayer. I am very sorry, guy...

mici, it's really not just about the level of loudness that Sharapova made, it's much more than that...

Posted by Bob 09/06/2006 at 09:06 PM

temes: They were certainly aggressive. They both have backed off, since they can't hit those shots consistently now. Serena was very passive against Amelie. That's why they need to play the other events, so they can start to hit those shots.

Posted by temes 09/06/2006 at 09:06 PM

Mici, get a sense of humor. Being so serious all the time is un-called for. But it was super-amusing, especially when Steggy wrote it!!! HAHAHAHHSheheheheheheh.

Posted by Lucy Clark 09/06/2006 at 09:07 PM

I'll miss Marat. He is so gorgeously and gloriously unpredictable. (By the way, why is it that the European men wear more jewelry than the women?) But, it does seem he moved well and didn't go completely nutso. Maybe we can look forward to next year.

Posted by steggy 09/06/2006 at 09:10 PM

mici: Boo-hoo, it was uncalled for, my heart bleeds sympathy for Maria, the Pig Slayer. Uncalled-for things are a fact of life, as are double-standards and hypocrisy. So I don't waste my time worrying about 'em.

Don't care about the blister timeout. The thing was a big as a quarter, she needed it broken and taped. Not a big deal, as far as I'm concerned.

Posted by Kim 09/06/2006 at 09:10 PM

completely agree!, kiwibee

Posted by Bob 09/06/2006 at 09:10 PM

You have to like Amelie's chances quite a bit after watching the Sharpova match. Frankly, the tennis hasn't been very good on the women's side, especially in the top half. Justine's match today was the only match I've seen which had great tennis from both players.

Posted by Matt Zemek 09/06/2006 at 09:11 PM

Well, without blinking, Rafa's my nose guard/interior defensive run stopper. Philippoussis would be the other defensive tackle. (No one's really fat in tennis, so it's not as though one can choose really meaty players to fill out these positions...)

Safin's a defensive end just because he can't be a tackle. Philippoussis does not have the speed needed to be an end. My other defensive end is Ivo Karlovic. The "Too Tall Jones" of tennis.

Linebackers: Nalbandian as middle linebacker. A good steerer of the ball, a good steerer of a defense. Outside linebackers: Tursunov and Berdych: ferocious hitters. You need outside LBs to have that quality.

Safeties: Monfils and Gonzo. Maniacal energy, can cover a lot of ground, and also have hitting ability.

Shutdown cornerbacks: Federer and Blake. Two guys who will run forever in the open field.

Punter? Nadal. His uncle played soccer. Unconventional? Yeah.

So was this request...

Posted by steggy 09/06/2006 at 09:13 PM

Matt: Kafelnikov. There's your def. tackle right there.

Posted by kiwibee 09/06/2006 at 09:14 PM

Poor Rafa, I was hoping he would get to the final. Oh well.

Posted by Matt Zemek 09/06/2006 at 09:16 PM

Well, I was going for active players only.

Boy, what would a team from all of tennis history look like?

That's fascinating.

Connors at middle linebacker. The Dick Butkus of tennis.

Ah, the possibilities...

Well, on that note, I have to officiate four basketball games. Enjoy Hewitt-Roddick. If it's close to the 2001 quarterfinal, we're in for something good.

Posted by mici 09/06/2006 at 09:17 PM

I was so sad Marat lost today, I heat haas, he looks like crazy man in a bad way sometimes on court i almost get scard, what he might do, ponch someone.

IN spite of the lose, this us open was good for safin, could have been beter, but was good.

now marat take the momantom 2 the indoor court, he loves them.

i dont think fed will be in madrid and matbe not in paris and if marat is playing good i dont see who will stop him.

he just have to worry about the ranking so he will be easyer in the aus open next year, where i belive we will se his best again.

Posted by temes 09/06/2006 at 09:17 PM

I just wonder whether Roger shaves his legs...I must stare closely next time he plays. I'm really interested.

Posted by kiwibee 09/06/2006 at 09:18 PM

temes:you are one scary person....

Posted by daylily 09/06/2006 at 09:19 PM

Pete, please tell every tiny little thing about rafa's presser, ok? please please please? how did he look and act and is his ankle hurt and all the stuff....i gotta know. steggy, that was a good metaphor for my state of being at present, how astute of you.

matt, you're the sweetest ever.

Posted by Bob 09/06/2006 at 09:24 PM

Wow. Sharpova is really choking. Amazing. Golovin isn't playing too well, but Maria is one error after another. Her serve is terrible.

Posted by mici 09/06/2006 at 09:24 PM

temes, no he doesnt.

you havent heard of the hot lags post in

Posted by momofan 09/06/2006 at 09:25 PM

I just came home from chem lab lecture, *totally* wiped out, to the news that my precious Raffito lost! Omg if I have to sit through another Fed-Hewitt bagelfest (I'm picking Hewitt to win against RoboRod tonight) I'll scream. This can't be happening. This can't be happening. Is it???

And now homework to do..crap crap crap (steggy don't delete me). I might need to watch Amelie's match again to cheer myself up. *Wahhh*

Lily, we need to start a Rafa/Amelie support group for kooks like me.

Posted by temes 09/06/2006 at 09:26 PM

Oh no Mici, I forgot, Feds a grizzly. A true man. Not a metrosexual. Fool proof then.

Posted by temes 09/06/2006 at 09:30 PM

All righty then, now that my little mind starts to wonder from one strange place to another, I think I must quit your agony. Nighty night to all.

Posted by Ray Stonada 09/06/2006 at 09:31 PM

daylily, I remember feeling like you are after the 2002 Sampras-Agassi USO final. Ack. It didn't go away for weeks. The great thing, if there is one, about Rafa losing is that he has literally a decade to go.

I feel a littl deflated tonight after the end of the delicious possibility of Fed-Safin and Rafa-Roddick semifinals. If Roger plays Roddick or Hewitt in the final, it's gonna be a bloodbath. Probably the same for Youzhny.

Matt, amazing job on the tennis-football team. Can't wait for offense. I nominate Gasquet for QB.

Posted by steggy 09/06/2006 at 09:31 PM

daylily: How late can ya stay up? Pete just mentioned on the phone that he's gonna do an extensive post sometime tonight about the press conference/match (and was quite complimentary about how Nadal handled himself).

Posted by mici 09/06/2006 at 09:31 PM

yes temes, I seen worse.

He is the only man I gave pass, on this issue.

Posted by steggy 09/06/2006 at 09:32 PM

Fed = Chewbacca
Roddick = Saguaro

Posted by vanfan 09/06/2006 at 09:34 PM

Tatiana Golovin: Isn't She Lovely

Maria Sharapova: Walk Like An Egyptian

Posted by Bob 09/06/2006 at 09:35 PM

Finally Maria served, and she can break for the win, which wouldn't be surprising in this match. I mainly want to start watching the men's match, so this will probably go three.

Posted by D-Wiz 09/06/2006 at 09:35 PM

And now that Marat has confirmed that it's all about the heart/mind, what punishment do we have for today's losers? (degree of punishment correlates to degree of mental/emotional failing)

For Rafa: Mats Wilander observing Rafa has only two, normal sized onions
For Lindsay: no movies in the middle of the day for a month
For Dinara: the gulag
For Marat: crucifixion

(kidding, of course)

Ray: I've fed myself

Matt: Marat is TOTALLY a DB in the vein of Ronnie Lott, that's why he doesn't wear a helmet.

Posted by Tim 09/06/2006 at 09:37 PM

this match is giving womens tennis a bad name, what a disaster, there is NO strategy whatsoever here, just bashing and running and screaming ... now hewitt and Roddick are gonna have a classic, just you watch ... please Sharpie, end our misery ..

Dadddy has to tell maria when to eat! hold up that banana, Yuri! that is the grossest, dumbest thing I have ever seen ... can the girl go to the bathroom by herself?

Posted by Lucy 09/06/2006 at 09:38 PM

D-Wiz, I actually laughed out loud at your punishment for Rafa.

Hey, did y'all know this?

[From Tennis-X] Nikolay Davydenko is now dating Marcos Bagdhatis' ex-girlfriend Camille Neviere.

Not a bad effort for a soft top tenner...

Posted by momofan 09/06/2006 at 09:39 PM

Tim, you are my long-lost twin. ALLEZ AMELIE. Soooo glad I'm going to dinner and *not* watching this (NOISY) bashing.

Posted by Sam 09/06/2006 at 09:39 PM

I agree with Ray. I see Hewitt winning in 4. I don't see Roddick winning unless he serves lights out.

Matt - love your tennis-football team so far.

Posted by Ruth 09/06/2006 at 09:40 PM

When every shot's a power shot, I guess every shot has to be accompanied by a scream. But I don't understand those folk who, apparently, who can't tell the difference between a player who just screams on EVERY shot -- perhaps to distract or annoy his/her opponent -- and the other hundreds of both male and female players who SOMETIMES make loud sounds when they are very tired or expelling breath after playing many games in a strenuous match. I can't wait for this match to end so that I can resume watching AND listening to tennis.

Posted by Sam 09/06/2006 at 09:41 PM

"For Rafa: Mats Wilander observing Rafa has only two, normal sized onions"

Thanks for the laugh, D-Wiz.

Posted by Sam 09/06/2006 at 09:42 PM

I agree, Ruth. I need a Sharapova shreik filter for my TV ...

Posted by kiwibee 09/06/2006 at 09:44 PM

Poor Tati, lost the tiebreakers...

Now, it's Allez Amelie!!!!!!

Posted by Dunlop Maxply 09/06/2006 at 09:45 PM

Its clear that Safin is so ridiculously hard on himself out there, that he certainly needs the opposite of punishment.

Its one of the non-physical things which make him so likeable.

However, the best was when I read Ivanisevich's quote on how "when Marat throws a racket, he breaks it for sure, he throws with real intent" or something like that, it cracked me up.

Posted by Tim 09/06/2006 at 09:45 PM

lets all send out a thank you to maria for ending this in two painful tiebreak sets! Yuri, stock up on those bananas, papa, and be sure to spoon feed Maria her pasta tonight while youre at it... I officially am over Shreikie, and those stupid hats she wears to every presser... send her home, Amelie!

Posted by Serena, 2007 AO Champion 09/06/2006 at 09:46 PM

I am picking Roddick to win, Hewitt ain't what he use to be. The crowd will pump Roddick up!

Posted by kiwibee 09/06/2006 at 09:46 PM

I had to turn down my TV's volume so I'm not disturbing my

Posted by Lucy 09/06/2006 at 09:46 PM

"...[Safin] certainly needs the opposite of punishment."

I'm putting up my hand to volunteer for whatever this entails.

Posted by temes 09/06/2006 at 09:48 PM

Burying him alive, huh? nevermind.

Posted by Kim 09/06/2006 at 09:48 PM

momofan, please.... count me in for that Rafa/Amelie support group!!!

Posted by Bob 09/06/2006 at 09:48 PM

Well, the best player won, and that's appropriate. I don't expect to see this poor quality from Sharapova in the semis. This was a very mediocre match.

Now for the match I've been wanting to see. I'm for Hewitt, and think he should win the match, but the "new" Roddick is an unknown quantity/quality. We'll see what happens.

Posted by Dunlop Maxply 09/06/2006 at 09:49 PM

Well Lucy, I'm not sure he doesn't get enough of that, but maybe the six blondes at the AO didn't provide the right level of "tennis analysis."

Posted by Tim 09/06/2006 at 09:49 PM

i guess rafa's gigantic balls shrunk a bit today, mats? or at least he's back down to a pair, huh? just goes to show how hard it is to keep winning in men's tennis, and how Fed's record is nothing short of phenomenal ... ugh, now i have to prepare for that idiotic J Block and obnoxious fans cheering Fed's doouoble faults .. i wonder, do you think the crowd will harass Fed, or not? I cant imagine anyone openly getting on his case...

Posted by kiwibee 09/06/2006 at 09:49 PM

Tim: I totally agree with you about Papa Yuri. He is like a puppet master who controls Sharpie's life. Now it's obvious that he controls what she eats and
I love it when Tracy Austin was laughing at papa Yuri holding up a banana, then the next shot is MSharpie eating the banana...muahahahaha

Posted by vanfan 09/06/2006 at 09:50 PM

Dunlop, thanks for answering my questions last night.

Posted by Tim 09/06/2006 at 09:53 PM

cant wait to hear Pete's take on the banana issue ... lol

Posted by steggy 09/06/2006 at 09:53 PM

Oh god, they're here. (I have my psychotic tennis group here tonight by virtue of the fact that I have the biggest TV and food)

Pray for me. And my couch.

Posted by Ray Stonada 09/06/2006 at 09:53 PM

D-Wiz: sorry if I was being paternalistic...

Posted by lanterne.rouge 09/06/2006 at 09:54 PM

Despite the warmth of this piece, I was left with a strange feeling that I watched a different match from Peter.

Apart from the er, hiccup in the 4th, nothing in today's match made me pull out my hair and reprise "Marat's Greatest Implosions" in my head. If we're to talk of heart/mind/man-bits, Tommy Haas' performance early in the match invites more criticism.

It all came down to the last couple of points in the 5th set TB.
And it was all over so quickly that I blinked and went "whaaa?"
We didn't have the faintest indication of who'd win until the very last minute, and it left me desperately unsatisfied.

I've said this about the Bandy/Marat match but it just seems like such a travesty to have TBs in the 5th set of a slam.

I was glad Marat beat Bandy, but Bandy had battled back from 1-5 down in that tie-break to level with Marat -- before the last couple of points decided it. It honestly could have gone either way. I believe Marat was the better player that day, and would have preferred to see him eventually win by a clear 2 games.

Today, I don't know what would have happened if the 5th set had been played out as @other slams. Haas looked the more chipper towards the end, and he may have won, but that would have been a more satisfying and convincing result for me, as a tennis-fan.

I love the Headcase Club concept, but sometimes it can be like a ball and chain for our minds. Other players, even Roger and Rafa, have visited the Clubhouse too. Often, I read critiques/analyses on Safin, and feel all his matches (bar the Aussie semi) are but one blur in the writer's mind.

Posted by D-Wiz 09/06/2006 at 09:56 PM

*pulls Lucy's hand down and puts up own* No no, me. ME!!! For whatever that entails.

Dunlop: I was so completely kidding, especially on Marat. Sometimes I think others don't see how hard he is on himself. I *do* see it, which is why I cut him a LOT of slack. Honestly, I'm just happy he's still out there trying at all.

Posted by kiwibee 09/06/2006 at 09:56 PM

that's why it's called tiebreak. It can tie you or break
Steggy:good luck watching tennis with your mates. say hi to your

Posted by Serena, 2007 AO Champion 09/06/2006 at 09:57 PM

"Dadddy has to tell maria when to eat! hold up that banana, Yuri! that is the grossest, dumbest thing I have ever seen ... can the girl go to the bathroom by herself?"

I'd hate to see what Yuri's signal to her would be, to tell her to take a dump.

I'm sick of Yuri's coaching! I'm also sick of Justine's coach always getting away with coaching. Time for the WTA to crack down on these cheats!

Posted by Orion 09/06/2006 at 10:00 PM

re. Hewitt vs. Roddick: It depends on who get's the first set. Roddick needs to get some momentum going early or else Hewitt will be too confident. The only retriever more dangerous than confident Hewitt is Nadal any day of the week. Hewitt's going to need the first set because odds are he won't be able to break Roddick more than once a set, and if we get sharp Roddick tonight, Hewitt's serve is going to be jumped on.

Note on Hewitt: for a player who's been running all over the court for around 7 years, he's stayed incredibly fresh. Compared with Safin in particular. Hewitt's definitely not as speedy as he was, say, in '01-'02, but he's definitely still able to fight like the best of them. Safin's is DEFINITELY a step or two slower than he was in his hey day.

Posted by Shannon 09/06/2006 at 10:04 PM

Rafa's loss was painful, but I could kind of tell from the start that he was in trouble. He had a lot of trouble holding serve and was sending errors all over the place. He didn't really look like he was moving badly to me but I was surprised to see that look of defeat on his face. Never saw that before.

The good thing is that he's only just beginning. I feel like he'll learn a lot from this loss and improve even more next year.

Now I think I'll go root against Roddick. It'll make me feel better.

Posted by Just check 09/06/2006 at 10:06 PM

Youzhny is still playing doubles right now... He'll never be fit enough for his semi.

Posted by lanterne.rouge 09/06/2006 at 10:07 PM

Oh lol, D-Wiz.
You made your point with such finesse.
We must have *interesting* punishments for Berdy, Gasquet, and Djoko too.

Lucy wrote : From Tennis-X - Nikolay Davydenko is now dating Marcos Bagdhatis' ex-girlfriend Camille Neviere

Parallel universe alert!

Posted by Lucy 09/06/2006 at 10:08 PM

Lanty, I hear ya. Even Safin has his moments of sanity. Incidentally, he has a very good record in five-setters, so it's not like he's incapable of toughing it out. It's more that he can go from outstanding to nightmarish in a matter of, oh, seconds. That and his engaging habit of comparing himself to animals in his press conferences. And his aforementioned player's box full of "cousins".

Hewitt-Roddick on serve... I'm picking Lleyton, don't believe the "marriage will calm you down" hype. That only works if you marry someone interesting...

Posted by Pete 09/06/2006 at 10:19 PM

Great line, Lucy. . . also, Lanty, I didn't think Safin's loss was a head-case loss. It was a good match, he hit some dumb shots at bad times. I've been convinced by some recent posters (inc you) that he isn't really a first-class meltdown job (he's second, maybe third class), but I hate to let go of the conceit because it's more fun to hold it and he cuts a better figure as a doomed genius. . .gotta post, see you all later.

Posted by rafafan 09/06/2006 at 10:23 PM

Rafa should go back to wearing capri pants. These board shorts are just not doing it for him - since the change he hasn't won anything.

Posted by Sahadev 09/06/2006 at 10:29 PM

WTF is going on with Mikhail Youzhny? Scalping Rafa and the Bryan brothers in the same day - wow.

Posted by Scott 09/06/2006 at 10:31 PM

Wow, Roddick is playing some damn fine tennis. Aggressive when he needs to be. Low number of unforced errors. Interesting. And Youzhny (SP) & whoever his partner is just upset the Bryan brothers. Someone please test Youzhny's gatorade immediately.

Posted by daylily 09/06/2006 at 10:32 PM

steggs, i'm going to bed right now. as much as i'd love to stay up for pete's article, getting up before five puts a real damper on one's night life, let me tell you. and if you think you could face 180 high schoolers on 4 hours of sleep, think again...of course, i'm old, too, and that doesn't help. nor does rafa losing....omg, i feel like i'm going to cry again.

momito, i don't get the problem. don't you think amelie will win tomorrow? i just bet she will, chica, you wait and see.....but yes, if you would like to start a support group, i need it desperately, i'm feeling a lot more than dejected, let me tell ya. thank god for football this weekend, there's no way i can face another fed/roddick final. xoxox nitey nite

Posted by Sahadev 09/06/2006 at 10:33 PM

This might be heresy here, but I like the way Roddick plays. He makes the game appear so uncomplicated, just as Federer does.

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