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The 14 Day Work Week 01/06/2010 - 2:10 PM

95598927 by Pete Bodo

Yesterday, I picked Kim Clijsters as the female Player of the Year for 2010, and I've come to realize that the phrasing was a bit awkward. It would have been more accurate to say that I was picking Kim as the Player to Watch in 2010 - not that it's an especially intriguing choice. Still, for Clijsters to create a career Act II that surpasses her significant accomplishments in Act I would certainly be a notable story.

I had to agonize a little more over my choice for male Player to Watch For in 2010, because it came down the a choice between two men: Juan Martin del Potro and Andy Murray. And I'm going with Murray, partly on the theory that del Potro is going to need a good part of this year to absorb his new celebrity - and to learn the painful lessons that are visited upon anyone who suddenly has a target on his back. Weeks ago, I wrote a post demonstrating that guys who win a major at age 20 or younger always have trouble backing up their breakthrough accomplishments. Delpo may be an exception; he seemed half-attentive at the  ATP World Tour Finals and still managed to look like a guy to whom you'd better give wide berth. But I'm going with the conventional wisdom on this one.

So why Murray?

Well, I've got a few reasons, starting with the amount of change we've seen him undergo in the past few years, even as he still needs to make a few changes if he's going to be a Grand Slam champion. It seemed a career turning point when Murray fired Brad Gilbert, a coach for whom I've got enormous respect. Was the shake-up a sign that Murray wasn't interested in following the same path that Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick walked when they signed up for Gilbert's program? Not everyone wants to embrace the goal (perhaps I should say the work demanded by the goal) of being a top player. And with Murray's instant status as a national, or at least trans-national (UK) hero - something that required little more than just showing up, given the state of UK tennis - it seemed entirely possible that he'd settle for a good life spent in the Top 10.

But Murray went on to put together a fine team and his results attest to it. His fitness has been much improved, and his dedication is obvious - the only thing lacking is the validation provided by a Grand Slam title. I don't think Murray has failed to break through at a major because he's got some deficiency or weakness in his game; it's because he hasn't really figured out the nature of the two-week commitment, or mastered the mental and emotional pace a Grand Slam champ needs to close the deal. I like him as a one-week tournament man, even though certain one-week Masters 1000 events are tougher in some ways than majors, because the winner plays four or five days in a row, against quality opponents, in day and/or night matches that screw up standard rest and recovery periods.

Murray has been more successful at putting his foot to the gas and racing to the finish line of a one-week event than at managing his motivation and sense of urgency at majors where days of play alternate with days of rest. That he can manage the physical demands of any given major is obvious; he's fit, blessed with lean and long muscles, rangy and very well built for tennis. He comes to us from a Scottish culture in which the "hard life" and the toughness required to endure it are accepted as fate. Yet this toughness that seems like a inheritance is the one thing Murray has lacked when it comes to two-week events, although it's manifested less as physical weakness than as mental and emotional inadequacy. That means that what Murray needs to do, first and foremost, is figure it out - not make tangible changes in his game or training.

I believe Murray is capable of figuring it out; he's a smart lad. And he must know that the time has come for him to step it up at big events.

A look at Murray's head-to-head results underscores his abilities in an any-given-day context: The most interesting aspect of the record is that he's a combined 11-5 against Roger Federer and Juan Martin del Potro - and four of those meetings with Delpo were in 2009. Pretty clearly, Murray can deal with thunder and lightning with comparable skill. He's also in with a shot against Novak Djokovic, although he trails in the rivalry, 3-4. He has winning H2H records against Andy Roddick, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Nikolay Davydenko. Out of curiosity, I checked Murray's record against Gael Monfils, who's game, much like Murray's, is essentially reactive (as opposed to initiative). Murray leads, 2-1, which suggests that he's a true counter-counterpuncher.

The only top player against whom Murray commands less than even odds is Rafael Nadal, who's got a 7-2 advantage on Murray. Surprisingly, only two of those matches were on clay. Rafa's secret, I think, is that he can make Murray, a gifted ball striker, hit balls that are outside his strike zone, thanks to his lefty spin. And unlike Monfils, Nadal is aggressive-reactive. Give him a good look at a ball and he'll put you on the defensive and keep you there, like a guy tied to a stake atop a fire-ant mound, in the burning sun. But Nadal struggled in the second half of 2009, and we need to see more of him before we determine whether he's the same player he was a year ago at this time.

If you were Murray, what would you ask of yourself looking ahead to 2010? My task would be:  Find a way to bring and keep your A game intact for the two weeks required at a Grand Slam venue.

Murray has the intelligence, work ethic, and ambition to take on that challenge, which is why I expect him to have a big year.


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Posted by sod'sfriend 01/06/2010 at 02:26 PM

first?

Posted by sod'sfriend 01/06/2010 at 02:28 PM

ok, first.

so le sod's outta chennai.

see you all at ao2010.

federer and nadal beware, we're coming after you.

Posted by Alexis 01/06/2010 at 02:33 PM

Until Murray actually wins one, I won't ever think of him as a favorite to win one. He's certainly shown that he can be in the mix the second week, but no more than that. I would think 2010 would be a good year for him to make that breakthrough, but with Fed, Nadal, Djokovic, and Delpo also there... I'm not counting on it.

Posted by Master Ace 01/06/2010 at 02:34 PM

At the moment, Murray is indeed the 3 set king looking to get that first Slam under his belt. Wonder if Del Potro win at USO will motivate Murray even more to find a way to defeat ball strikers that can get hot(Verdasco-AO, Gonzalez-FO, Roddick-W, and Cilic-USO)at any point in a 5 set match. Once those same players get hot in a 3 set match, it may be too late.

Posted by Alexis 01/06/2010 at 02:35 PM

sod'sfriend - Rog and Rafa will be waiting. You can count on it.

Posted by Alexis 01/06/2010 at 02:35 PM

I posted this on the other thread. Doha OOP for tomorrow:

Troicki vs Kubot
Nadal vs Darcis
Federer vs Gulbis
Davidenko vs Karlovic

Posted by Alexis 01/06/2010 at 02:36 PM

LOL... I misspelled Davydenko!

Posted by skip1515 01/06/2010 at 02:36 PM

Okay, so Kohlschreiber is 27 in the world, and it's Hopman Cup and not a true biggie (apologies to Hopman, Perth, and Cup), but Murray looked positively, errrr, Federer-esque in his play last night (EST). He was more aggressive than he has been of late, super varied in his tactics, and spot on in both his rallying and serving location. Can he play like that against anyone and everyone, consistently enough for it to matter? Ahhh, the mysteries of the universe.....

Posted by Pspace (Lookin' for Court No. 3) 01/06/2010 at 03:20 PM

I certainly hope that this is Murray's year. However, I don't think his lack of success at the slams is due to mental issues. The only big disappointment last year was against Roddick in Wimbledon. He was sick in Oz, and had a wrist injury at the USO. And, there's clay.

Excuses aside, the question marks for me are: (a) First serve %, (b) Second serve, and (c) Forehand. The first serve tends to go awol every once in a while. If I recall, it disappeared during the match against Wawrinka at Wimbledon, and didn't really show up after that. He's probably got the worst second serve in the top 100, and if you're only as good as your second ball, he's got a long wait ahead of him at the slams. And, the fh is not really top 10 caliber.

His best hope, imo, would be to strike a rich vein of form in the second week. He's due for a little luck in that department.

In any case, from what I've seen so far of Federer and Nadal...it's gonna be a tough ask for the other guys.

Posted by Master Ace 01/06/2010 at 03:22 PM

Hong Kong Schedule
WTA only despite ATP Seniors are there to play singles and play mixed doubles with the WTA

Thursday at 3:30 AM : Gisela Dulko vs Victoria Azarenka and Venus Williams vs Caroline Wozniacki
Friday at 3:30 AM : Ayumi Morita vs Gisela Dulko or Victoria Azarenka loser, Jie Zheng vs Venus Williams or Carolin Wozniacki loser, and Vera Zvonareva vs Gisela Dulko or Victoria Azarenka winner scheduled
Friday at 10:00 PM : Maria Sharapova vs Venus Williams or Caroline Wozniacki winner scheduled

Posted by thebigapple 01/06/2010 at 03:22 PM

Nicest shot of Murray I have seen in a long while. Player to watch for 2010...Hmmph!

I would like to see Gasquet, Monfils, Gulbis and Tsonga really do some damage. Nice attractive, attacking games. But they all seem to be either headcases or have fragile bodies or both.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 01/06/2010 at 03:35 PM

Totally off-topic.

Rafa now fueling himself, partly, with Quely baked products, as PSpace noted on another thread.

On its website, Quely went to the beginning of "Once Upon a Time in the West" for inspiration.

http://www.quely.es/

Reportedly, Quely has contacted Ennio Morricone to determine his potential interest in adding to the sonic splendor of Quely's ad campaigns.

Posted by Peg 01/06/2010 at 03:57 PM

Ernie made it to the QF round? Well, well, well.

*goes to look up Darcis*

Posted by Master Ace 01/06/2010 at 03:57 PM


Thursday Order of Play

All times are USA EST
Action starts in approx. 65-70 minutes

WTA: Auckland starts at 5 PM - QF: Peer/Kirilenko, Date Krumm/Wickmayer, and Pennetta/Cibulkova
WTA: Brisbane starts at 7:30 PM - QF: Pavlyuchenkova/Ivanovic, Hantuchova/Petkovic, and Czink/Henin
ATP: Brisbane starts at 7:30 PM - QF: Odesnik vs Stepanek
HOPMAN: Australia vs Spain at 9 PM in Perth - Stosur vs Martinez Sanchez to start session on first court followed by Hewitt vs Robredo
HOPMAN: Romania vs United States at 9 PM in Perth - Cirstea vs Oudin to start session on second court followed by Hanescu vs Isner
WTA: Auckland starts at 1:30 AM - QF: Schiavone vs Cornet
MIXED: Brisbane starts at 4 AM - QF: Clijsters/Safarova and Blake/Monfils
ATP: Chennai starts at 6:30 AM - Wawrinka, Sela, and Ginepri are scheduled
ATP: Doha starts at 7:30 AM - QF: Troicki/Kubot, Darcis/Nadal, Federer/Gulbis, and Davydenko/Karlovic


Posted by Tfactor 01/06/2010 at 04:00 PM

Doha's OOP is out:
http://www.atpworldtour.com/posting/2010/451/op.pdf

Rafa second and Roger third on center court

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 04:01 PM

Well if everyone remembers last year prior to Murray contesting the AO,by the way was favourite to win that tournament he won the Expo and Doha.Then crashed out at the AO OPEN

This year his team has decided to go to the Hopman Cup where one can get some match play on the Plexicushion.Really he has had no compeition at this tournament.

My question is,is this enough match play before the AO? he dosent want a w/card into Sydney Medibank and indicated he would now like to play Kooyong.Well Roger Federer has to still make up his mind if he wants to play Kooyong.Also Andy Roddick indicated he wouldnt mind playing there as well.

I am sure officials will want Roger to play at Kooyong before Murray,sorry Andy.Maybe Andy will only get to play at Hopman Cup.

The AO is the hardest slam to pick a winner,regardless of previous tournament play.Cause its the 1st GS of the season.

Murray was the raging favourite in 09.I personally think he shines on the hard court where his wins are a testament to that.

His concentration soemtimes on Big points lets him down especially in GS.I also think at times he is too passive,sorry Pspace.

Personally I think there are 5 players that could easily win the AO.Maybe even a dark horse.

Though Murray has to Stand Up this year.Cause there are too many players chomping at his heels.

Posted by tina 01/06/2010 at 04:02 PM

Just got back from Costa Rica last night - Happy New Year All! - and am just now trying to catch up. I don't know where any of my faves are playing, aside from Marinko in Chennai. This just seemed as good a place as any to dip back in and say hello - and maybe someone will remind me of the time difference from TW to Chennai, as I didn't see local time anywhere on the official site... but I will add that I'm with Alexis, I'll believe in Murray when he actually wins a major. And thanks for the Doha OOP - ajde, Viki!

Posted by Mr. X 01/06/2010 at 04:14 PM

Hi everyone.
Well, back to business as usual for me. Le sigh. I mean, not that i dont enjoy chatting with you guys, but these first days of the year were very very nice:)
Anyway, i watched the second set of Nadal today. Honestly, couldnt take more of it, since he was far superior to his opponent. Didnt like what happened in the last changeover, with him holding his head and extending his left leg, hope it was nothing.
Oh, one more thing about it, since i'm back to ebing "single". Xisca is gorgeous:)
So, Murray is Pete's man for 2010? I thought it was gonna be Delpo, to be honest, since the big guy played quite far from his best at the WTF and still got to the final. I dont know if Muzz's problem is so much about losing focus and not being able to keep it up for 2 weeks, although his great results in the Masters (and yes, many times those are tougher, in some way, than the Slams-less upsets and less rest) show that he's the one-week tournament king for now. But to be fair to him, in 2009, his best chances were AO and USO, and he was sick in the AO and injured in the USO.

Posted by Peg 01/06/2010 at 04:18 PM

...Darcis _won_ Memphis two years ago? What the heck happened that year?

*looks at 2008 draw*

final: 2 sets over Soderling (who had taken out Roddick and Steps), SF over Bjorkman (who had taken out Querrey), QF over Becker (who had taken out Haas), R2 over Melzer (who'd knocked out Isner), R1 over Spadea.

(Yeah, doesn't change his odds w/Nadal at all, but I like knowing this sort of thing.)

Posted by Master Ace 01/06/2010 at 04:21 PM

Mr. X.,
Despite Hong Kong is an exo, the Queen of Nastiness and Hott Wozz will play their first match of 2010 against Gisela and Venus respectively.

Posted by Mr. X 01/06/2010 at 04:23 PM

Boy, looking at those QFs, Rafa sure got a big cupcake with the draw this week:)
Seriously though, his half is clearly easier, since the big difference-maker, Kolya, was on Fed's half, and not only that, but the dangerous outsiders, like Gulbis (did i just say he is dangerous?) and Dr.Ivo, are also on that side.
So, Darcis beat the Sod to win his only ATP title? Hmmmm. Suddenly, i like the guy:)

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 04:28 PM

Mr X Does that mean you wont be posting as much?

I have just printed up 5 batches of Demerit cards.Waste of money.

Posted by tennisesq. 01/06/2010 at 04:28 PM

Venus hasn't been doing well in exos lately. Lost to Kim in Antwerp, and just lost to Shrieky in Thailand. I hope she turns things around in Hong Kong. I still wish she could tried something different in her AO preparations.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 04:32 PM

tennisesq Do you think at this stage of Venus's career she would change it? if so,where would you prefer her to play.Brisbane or Sydney before the AO.

Posted by Mr. X 01/06/2010 at 04:35 PM

It means that i didnt post as much these first days of the year, AM, but now i'm back to normal, so i will post as i usually do. Those demerit cards are still very welcome:)
Master Ace,
The Hott Woz versus Venus sounds interesting, even if it is just a Mickey Mouse exho. After all, the best tennis moment of the year so far for me came in one of those Mickey Mouse exhos:)
Speaking of what, i see the Sod lost to Ginepri in Chennai. Surprising, although i guess everybody is trying to find their form. I just looked, and Marin almost lost to Granollers. I guess the only player who doesnt need finding any form is Clijsters.
Oh, and i dont know how i feel about the chance of Fedal so early in the year.

Posted by tennisesq. 01/06/2010 at 04:43 PM

Aussiemarg,
Yes! But it's all based on faith. I only care about the slams at this point. I think there's precedent on the ATP with men wining slams after 30, Agassi? Not sure about the WTA. But if anyone can do it, Vee can. I would prefer she play Sydney because it has a stronger field.

Posted by tina 01/06/2010 at 04:43 PM

Dear Master Ace - you were posting schedules while I was posting about needing them. What we all do without the service you perform? Thanks a million!

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 01/06/2010 at 04:43 PM

To be honest, I feel that JMDP might do rather better than Murray this year. Nothing against Murray, of course, and I expect him to win several Masters. But no, I have many doubts that Andy will be a GS winner this time around.

However, that said, I would be pleased if Muzz does take one.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 04:56 PM

tennisesq Well I would personally love Venus to play Sydney.Serena being the main draw card here,the last two years lol!

Sydney Medibank this year is boasting its strongest line up with 9 of the top 10 women players.Also ticket sales have gone up I think because of this strong womens field.

Posted by Corrie 01/06/2010 at 04:59 PM

I can think of a few fairly ok players who started winning a Slam while young and backed it up soon with a second slam. e.g. McEnroe, Becker, Edberg, Federer (if you call 21 young), and of course, Nadal. I can't see why Delpotro can't.

Posted by tennisesq. 01/06/2010 at 05:00 PM

Looking forward to your reports from Sydney, Aussiemarg.

I think I read you will be working at the tournment, right?

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 05:05 PM

tennisesq Yes I am working,though I probably wont have a lot ot time to report when working.I will be going on Wednesday 13th January to do a full day/night reporting for TW.

Also I am going to interview a lines person.Just waiting for the time.

Though dont worry I will keep my eyes open when I am working.I slipped into the gym at Medibank yesterday,some of the French guys were working out,some shirtless lol!

I went to all the practice courts yesterday though noone Big was there.

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 01/06/2010 at 05:05 PM

My pick for the men is Robin to have a big year and Caro and the Queen on the WTA side. Patrick, do you have a stream for Juju's match?

Posted by ladyjulia 01/06/2010 at 05:07 PM

Fed and Ernie have never played before.

I wish i could watch...:-(

I'll read through thematch calls though...

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 05:09 PM

Mina is also working at Medibank this year,she is going to the q/finals,s/final,finals so expect reports from her.

Nic is camping out on court 1.So she did great reports last year from Medibank.Expect her to do the same this year.

Posted by tennisesq. 01/06/2010 at 05:10 PM

lol Aussiemarg. Try to keep yourself out of trouble.

Posted by Master Ace 01/06/2010 at 05:12 PM

Thursday Order of Play

All times are USA EST
Action starts in approx. 65-70 minutes

WTA: Auckland starts at 5 PM - QF: Peer/Kirilenko, Date Krumm/Wickmayer, and Pennetta/Cibulkova
WTA: Brisbane starts at 7:30 PM - QF: Pavlyuchenkova/Ivanovic, Hantuchova/Petkovic, and Czink/Henin
ATP: Brisbane starts at 7:30 PM - QF: Odesnik vs Stepanek
HOPMAN: Australia vs Spain at 9 PM in Perth - Stosur vs Martinez Sanchez to start session on first court followed by Hewitt vs Robredo. If Spain wins one set, they will advance to the final but if they fail to win one set, Australia will advance to the final.
HOPMAN: Romania vs United States at 9 PM in Perth - Cirstea vs Oudin to start session on second court. Due to an abductor injury sufferred by Hanescu, Isner will face off against Kohlschreiber(per Hopman website)
WTA: Auckland starts at 1:30 AM - QF: Schiavone vs Cornet
MIXED: Brisbane starts at 4 AM - QF: Clijsters/Safarova and Blake/Monfils
ATP: Chennai starts at 6:30 AM - Wawrinka, Sela, and Ginepri are scheduled
ATP: Doha starts at 7:30 AM - QF: Troicki/Kubot, Darcis/Nadal, Federer/Gulbis, and Davydenko/Karlovic

Posted by Master Ace 01/06/2010 at 05:13 PM

Samantha Elin,
There will be a stream available for Brisbane later as it has all week so far.

Posted by Master Ace 01/06/2010 at 05:14 PM

Thursday Order of Play

WTA: Auckland starts at 5 PM - QF: Peer/Kirilenko, Date Krumm/Wickmayer, and Pennetta/Cibulkova
WTA: Brisbane starts at 7:30 PM - QF: Pavlyuchenkova/Ivanovic, Hantuchova/Petkovic, and Czink/Henin
ATP: Brisbane starts at 7:30 PM - QF: Odesnik vs Stepanek
HOPMAN: Australia vs Spain at 9 PM in Perth - Stosur vs Martinez Sanchez to start session on first court followed by Hewitt vs Robredo. If Spain wins one set, they will advance to the final but if they fail to win one set, Australia will advance to the final.
HOPMAN: Romania vs United States at 9 PM in Perth - Cirstea vs Oudin to start session on second court. Due to an abductor injury sufferred by Hanescu, Isner will face off against Kohlschreiber(per Hopman website)
WTA: Auckland starts at 1:30 AM - QF: Schiavone vs Cornet
MIXED: Brisbane starts at 4 AM - QF: Clijsters/Safarova and Blake/Monfils
ATP: Chennai starts at 6:30 AM - Wawrinka, Sela, and Ginepri are scheduled
ATP: Doha starts at 7:30 AM - QF: Troicki/Kubot, Darcis/Nadal, Federer/Gulbis, and Davydenko/Karlovic

Posted by Mr. X 01/06/2010 at 05:16 PM

Wow, Samantha, those were surprising picks, i must say:) By the way, since i think we havent been here at the same time this year, happy new year:)
Do you have a special reporter outfit prepared, AM?:)
By the way, did you see what Rafa did in the last changeover in his match today? Any thoughts about that?

Speaking of outfits, here's a story: in 1982, Spain hosted the World Cup, and while the Spanish team was a complete failure, one of the most remembered things of the whole tournament was the mascot, "Naranjito" (i guess a translation could be something like "Orangey").
Here's a pic of that fella:
http://eter22.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/naranjito.jpg
And now, a photo of his tennis equivalent:
http://www.as.com/recorte/20100106dasdasten_2/C280/Ies/Rafa_Nadal.jpg

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 05:19 PM

Mr X Of course I have a "special reporter uniform"

Please dont ask about the "other working uniform"

In one word "potato sack"

No further comment

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 01/06/2010 at 05:20 PM

Happy new year to you Mr.X. Anybody know if the Queen will get some kind of special ranking at the AO? I hate it when we have to lose a top player which will happen if one of them draws Justine.

Posted by tennisesq. 01/06/2010 at 05:20 PM

OT: I was watching that teen scream movie "Jennifer's Body." Is it just me, or does Megan Fox look like a waaay hotter version of Martina Hingis? I'm convinced they are long lost siblings. (Disclaimer: I watched the movie around 2am, so my vision was suspect.)

Martina: http://tinyurl.com/yhxckkk

Megan: http://tinyurl.com/yj4rp3b

Posted by greenhopper 01/06/2010 at 05:24 PM

Now that you mention it tesq., there's some resemblance, it must be the forehead.

Are those protesters still there? 'cos Shahar has opened up with a break. 0-2, Kirilenko on serve.

Posted by Mr. X 01/06/2010 at 05:24 PM

Well, tennisesq., i dont know. I dont see much of a similarity. Maybe a slight resemblance. Anyway, much as i liked Miss Martina, and i did, she's not even close.

Samantha,
No, i believe Justine will be at the AO as a wildcard, so i guess she could technically face anybody in the 1st round (including Kim, and Caro)

Posted by tennisesq. 01/06/2010 at 05:24 PM

lol greenhopper. I thought it was the eyebrows.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 05:25 PM

mr X Rafa was put under the "microscope" when he finally came back from his injuries

Some poster thought before he won the Expo against The Sod {yipeeeeeeeeeeeeee} he had knee trouble before that match and was gone already?

Look I am not going to get worked up about a Flinch,Grimace etc.The season has just begun.

I always know by his movement for example if there is some sort of problem.His movement to me was fine in that match.Rafa fans Frazzle if you will,though I am not going there.

All I want for Rafa this year is to remain healthy nothing more,nothing less.

Posted by Rosangel 01/06/2010 at 05:25 PM

Remeber it took a hot big-serving Verdasco who came within a squeak of beating Rafa in the semi to put a below-par Murray out of the AO in five sets last year:)

Both in 2008 and 2009 he was put out by the tournament's 'bolter' - the guy who did far more than expected on a hot streak. Tsonga in 2008, Verdasco in 2009.

For that matter, Nadal and Murray played one of the matches of 2007 in five sets at AO 2007. That one went Rafa's way partly because of superior fitness in the fifth, but both players showed both heart and guts.

As Pspace noted, there was an injury to the wrist bothering Murray during the USO, and he is certainly a player who knows how serious a wrist injury can be after what happened to him a couple of years back.

I have no idea whether he will ever win a Slam, but I wouldn't rule it out either.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 05:31 PM

There is that "horrid match of 08" being brought up again.mmmmmmmmmm.

Posted by Bobby 01/06/2010 at 05:31 PM

Aussiemarg, are you reporting for tennis.com? Excited to read your stuff. As for the linesperson interview, I heard something pretty good on NPR around the time of Serenagate. I can dig it up and send a link if you'd like.

tennisesq, I'd love for Venus to win Wimbledon. Wouldn't it be a great 30th birthday present to herself?

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 01/06/2010 at 05:32 PM

Roger made the final of every GS last year, that is incredible. I feel he should have been the athlete of the year, instead they gave it to sex addicted Tiger.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 01/06/2010 at 05:33 PM

Has anyone seen Venus play at all this year? I wonder if she is still wearing the knee wrap.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 05:33 PM

Bobby Thanks I would love to read it,seeing I cant turn myself Blue at the moment.I am working on it?? whenever that may be,I will post here my e mail address ok

maragaretmcaleer@ymail.com.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 05:36 PM

Bobby My reporting is pretty over the top though ok,its not quite your normal reporting at a tennis tournament ok.

Though my in depth reporting for the lines person will be very srraight and proper,kind of.lol!

Posted by Mr. X 01/06/2010 at 05:36 PM

Well, AM, his movement looked great to me against the Sod (granted, it was just an exho), and today, i couldnt tell all that much from what i saw. If we are telling the truth, he didnt really need to move all that well or do all that much, as he was far superior in today's match.
I just didnt like all that "hands to the head, left leg extended" stuff. It's true that i keep looking for injuries more whenever he plays since his return in the summer.
Good for you to be able to be over that, although i'm not very optimistic on him staying injury free. I just hope he will be able to stay healthy for the majors.

Posted by greenhopper 01/06/2010 at 05:38 PM

6-0, in 23 minutes, serving at 50%. Kiri got a sum total of 8 points.

Posted by Diane(Atlanta) 01/06/2010 at 05:39 PM

Hi all, well my laptop died last night and no time to shop for a new one as we leave for Sydney tomorrow.

It is supposed to snow here tomorrow and that is rare in Atlanta, sure hope it doesn't delay my flight!

Packing now and getting excited; just mixed a martini to kick start the vacation mood.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 01/06/2010 at 05:40 PM

I'm just going to keep an "open mind" on Rafa having any injuries until I hear something officially. One can get tired of frazzling!

Posted by Master Ace 01/06/2010 at 05:41 PM

Greenhopper,
Sounds like Shahar is on a mission. After the USO, Shahar was one of the top players in the WTA highlighted by winning Guangzhou and Tashkent in consecutive weeks which helped her made the Tournament of Champions in Bali.

Posted by Bobby 01/06/2010 at 05:42 PM

Aussiemarg, I emailed the link but the email bounced back. I'm guessing I need to remove the 'a' you put after 'mar', right? Over-the-top reporting sounds like fun to me!

Posted by Master Ace 01/06/2010 at 05:42 PM

Diane,
What time is your flight? The wintry weather is supposed to start at approx 9 AM EST in my area.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 05:44 PM

Mr X I also support Safina? get my drift

I have been to hell and back with her lol!

Look I have followed Rafa since day 1,he was off the tour with that foot injury for some time.

Looking at his career to date,he has always had dips usually to injury.Though he has always come back.Who really would have thought he would win the AO 09?.Afer winning his 1st GS at RG I saw in him the things that make you a Champion.Up till now he has never disappointed me at all.I will never underestimate him.No way.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 05:46 PM

Bobby LOL! I have been up since 2.00am here.I cant spell at the best of times.Sorry.

Margaret lol!

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 01/06/2010 at 05:47 PM

Mr.X: I saw what you did today and also on the previous changeover he made faces at his team. seems to be par for the course for rafa now that his body has been beat up by a few years on tour.

As for the player to watch on the atp, I think if Nole can keep up his amazing level he's got a good chance of winning a major this year. I would love to see that.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 01/06/2010 at 05:47 PM

Are there any pressers from Doha on youtube or their website? i'll try to find out..

Posted by Diane(Atlanta) 01/06/2010 at 05:48 PM

Master Ace, my flight is @ 6:40 PM, but a driver is picking us up @ 3 PM. Hope we can beat the worst of it! Weather people are saying metro Atlanta should get an inch or less so lets hope so.
After so many years of dreaming of this trip, who needs snow to be an issue. I know you are in the Birmingham area so we southerners know what snow can do and it isn't pretty!

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 05:48 PM

Bobby Now I cant comphrend either.Just leave the Aussie part out.

margaretmcaleer@ymail.com

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 05:51 PM

Dianne just read your news,gosh I hope you can get your flight ok.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 01/06/2010 at 05:51 PM

forget it. that is one wacked out website.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 01/06/2010 at 05:53 PM

Diane: Well, I do hope that you get away on time tomorrow ... and I'm sure you will have a wonderful!

Posted by Mr. X 01/06/2010 at 05:54 PM

Ooof, Safina. Now, that's hard to watch. Although i'm fully willing to give her a pass on those awful final months of last year, considering she was dealing with a tough back injury. However, i'm predicting a tough year for her. Let's see if i'm wrong. These first months could be for her to find her form back after the injury, since her best moment of the season should be the clay court season (it was last year). Problem is, Henin is back now.
I dont know, Annie, i juts dont know. Of course, looking for the pressers wont be any help. If he had any trouble (and i'm not saying he does), he certainly wouldnt say it. As for Nole, i think Pete might have left him out because of his, you know, mental issues.

Posted by Bobby 01/06/2010 at 05:54 PM

Aussiemarg, resent it. You didn't get it? Just in case, here's the link:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=112825250

Posted by Pspace (Lookin' for Court No. 3) 01/06/2010 at 05:57 PM

Speaking of La Hingis...here she is doing the waltz:

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

OMG, she's so hot! Not a very good dancer though :-).

Posted by Bobby 01/06/2010 at 05:57 PM

Peer bagelled Kirilenko in the first set. Wow!

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 05:58 PM

Sydney Telegraph Thursday January 7th,2010.

Adam Scott wont have any fingernails left by the end of the Brisbane International if girlfriend Ana Ivanovic cant squeeze in a shorter and easier match.Scott has watched every minute of the 21/2 hours the Serbian glamour girl has spent on court in just two matches this week where she has been pushed by players ranked well below her.One of the main issues for Ivanovic is her first serve percentage,which only reached 54% on Tuesday night as she constantly struggled with the ball toss.

Ivanovic wasnt blaming her low percentage on any technical problems,but pointed to a bout of nerves in front of her newly adopted local fan base.

Posted by Diane(Atlanta) 01/06/2010 at 05:59 PM

Well Aussiemarg, I will hopefully be at the airport on time, probably sitting in the Delta Crown room having a drink to calm my nerves....I don't relly like to fly and this will be the longest flight I have ever been on!!!

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 06:00 PM

Bobby Oh,I dont know what the problem is.Thanks for the link anyway.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 06:01 PM

Dianne Have you ever tried say 1/2 a sleeping tablet at all

Posted by Tfactor 01/06/2010 at 06:02 PM

Dianne,
Just wanted to say that I too hope everything goes smoothly with your trip.
Good idea to leave early for the airport because with all the increased security, pre flight stuff is going to take some time.

Posted by Mr. X 01/06/2010 at 06:06 PM

Oh, Martina. You are still so lovely:)
And seeing that post about Ana and Scott, Miss Ivanovic should remember one of the Hingis lessons: after she got with the King of All Chokers, Sergio Garcia, her career didnt go very well. I think he just passed it to her.
So Ana, watch out.

Seriously though, she is still having trouble with the toss. I mean, it cant be so difficult to do the right way. Heck, I can do it. I think it's all in her head at this point.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 06:07 PM

Sydney Telegraph,7th January,2010.

Fourth seeded Daniela Hantuchova has credited coach Darren Cahill with toughening her up after she moved into the quarter finals of the Brisbane International with a straight sets win over Agnes Szavay yesterday.

"Becaause of Cahill I'm just looking at the game in a completely different angle,and almost trying to learn from the mens game where everythings so much faster,more powerful,but also smarter"

Posted by Hart 01/06/2010 at 06:07 PM

Have a fabulous trip Dianne! I'm so jealous. What a nice escape from the wintry weather. But do allow a lot of time for security at the airport. I went out of the country over Xmas and spent a ton of time in security lines, getting the Way Too Up Close and Personal Security Pat-Down. :)

Posted by wilson75 01/06/2010 at 06:09 PM

His decision to play Hopman rather than a tour event has me questioning the "smartness" of Murray. If he really wanted to acclimatise to Aussie heat he should've played Brisbane or Sydney (Hopman is an indoor event), his eagerness to play Kooyong and fact that he will be seeded No. 5 instead of 4 is proof at least to me, that he has realised that he made a mistake. I believe that this decison was made by his management team rather than his tennis team. Call me cynical but his teaming-up with Robson is a PR stunt-the Golden girl and boy of Bristish tennis playing together.

As for him being the player to watch I would agree with Pete but only on the fact that he is the only player in the top 5 w/o a slam title. He is under enormous pressure to win one which has only got greater since Del Potro one before him.

Re: h2h, his results in slams except RG show that that really doesn't matter, it's who plays better on the day that really counts. The BBC had Murray in the Wimby final before he got on Centre Court because he had a superior h2h with Roddick and we know what happened there.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 06:09 PM

Mr X Martina was also engaged to The Worm?

I rest my case.

Posted by Diane(Atlanta) 01/06/2010 at 06:12 PM

Thanks all for your good wishes, just got a weather update and they are saying the snow will hit Atlanta around 7 PM so things are looking better.

Aussiemarg, last year my Dr. gave me a script for Ambien and I had hallucinations so no more of that. I have some Valium which should work wonders!

Posted by Diane(Atlanta) 01/06/2010 at 06:14 PM

Hart, we always leave extra time as my husband has had a hip replacement and he always gets pulled out for extra screening...we are used to it!

Posted by Mr. X 01/06/2010 at 06:17 PM

I agree with wilson75 that not defending his points from lat year, and getting to the AO seeded 5th is a huge mistake by Lestat. There's a big difference between being 4th and being 5th. And the irony of thinking that he was seeded #2 in the previous Slam.

AM, there has to be something about the Worm that we cant see. If not, it has no explanation:)

Posted by tennisesq. 01/06/2010 at 06:23 PM

Oh Bobby,
A 6th Wimbledon crown would be the perfect 30th birthday gift for Vee.

Btw, I really really really enjoyed your Serena post. Been meaning to tell you that. =)

Posted by wilson75 01/06/2010 at 06:24 PM

Mr. X: I think he thought that he would've had done better @ WTF. We all know he his the 3-set king. However he had already committed to Robson and the Hopman Cup and so he couldn't pull out. He couldn't sign up for Sydney after WTF because that would've meant he would be playing the entire month of January presuming he reached the 2nd week of AO

Posted by Peg 01/06/2010 at 06:28 PM

Just keep mentioning those shirtless French boys, AM, and I'll be plenty happy. ;-)

Posted by Bobby 01/06/2010 at 06:30 PM

tennisesq, we now have (at least) two players who pretty much live for Wimbledon. Before it was mainly Venus, and now Justine's been talking about it a ton. Will make Wimbledon even more interesting. And I'm glad you liked the Serena piece, but the props go to Serena! What a character she is.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 06:31 PM

Peg lol! last year at Medibank they all seem to practice shirtless as well.I got some shots.They said coming from Europe where it was soo cold and into our sunshine was great.

Posted by Mr. X 01/06/2010 at 06:37 PM

Well, wilson75, to be fair to Muzz, he was just a little bit unlucky in that line of thought, considering he was out of the SFs at the WTF by just one game.
However, if he made the numbers when he made the decission, heprobably realized it was a risky move.
I agree it sounds like a PR move, getting the Golden Boy of UK tennis together with the Golden Girl.
Now, will that be enough preparation? Granted, he looked like he was the best prepared one last year, and then got sick midway through the tournament, so you never know.
Actually, of the 5 guys that seem to have serious chances of winning the AO, i think Fed and Rafa are the ones that are having the better prepapration, with one official tournament (although not a very loaded one) to get into competition and then going directly to Melbourne to train. If i'm not mistaken, the other 3 are just playing exhibitions, whether it's Hopman Cup or Kooyong. And for what i understand, both Fed and Rafa have looked good this week so far. Of course, it has been against opponents that pretty much cant touch them.

Posted by greenhopper 01/06/2010 at 07:01 PM

Hart, what is this winter-y weather you speak of living in sunny so-cal? pray please explain.

Shahar wins 6-0 3-6 6-1.
Did anyone catch this match? That's a topsy-turvy scoreline.

Posted by Hart 01/06/2010 at 07:04 PM

I was sympathizing with the rest of the country, greenhopper, not complaining :) I'm enjoying the mid-seventies and sunny weather, myself. :) Ahh, SoCal...

Posted by Diane(Atlanta) 01/06/2010 at 07:08 PM

Hart, my son lives in LA and he loves the weather there; always comes home for Christmas and complains that it's too cold here.

He will meet us in Melbourne for the Aussie Open and it will be his second visit.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Summer in Oz Tennis 01/06/2010 at 07:11 PM

Bobby I have checked my e amils on my main computer.Just letting you know they 2 of them went through fine.Thanks again for the article.

Posted by just a note 01/06/2010 at 07:11 PM

Speaking of Ana’s ball toss problems, I read Ruth’s comment about Rafter’s ‘Sorry mate’ accompaniment to his bad ball toss and remembered a match he played against Agassi where it happened a lot (US Open?, year?). Agassi got so annoyed he imitated him when it was his turn to serve. I felt very uncomfortable watching Agassi making fun of Pat because he wasn’t doing it on purpose; IMO his service motion was just off that day.

And --- just in case you haven’t seen/heard enough new/live tennis, ESPN Classic is showing the legendary Roger/Marat Australian Open 2005 Semifinal tonight, 8pm-1am EST/TW time.

FTR, I have no idea what constitutes OT, which post is current, which post is for match calls, which......etc., etc. Haven't from day one on this site but I love it anyway:).

Posted by Hart 01/06/2010 at 07:12 PM

I hope you have a wonderful trip Diane. Send us a report. :) And pictures!! Yes, no complaints about the LA weather...

Posted by just a note 01/06/2010 at 07:13 PM

Diane(Atlanta) - have a great trip:)!!

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