Peter Bodo's TennisWorld - A Genuine Holstein
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A Genuine Holstein 07/07/2010 - 4:37 PM

by Pete Bodo

Wimbledon is my favorite tournament to cover outside the U.S., for a variety of reasons, beginning with the most sensible—and selfish—of them all. London, more specifically Wimbledon Village, is the place where I feel most comfortable and which I find, to use a term any Anglophile will understand, the most civilized. It's not worth reading a whole lot into that; it's mostly circumstantial. For me, the living and working conditions at Wimbledon are unique. Others may not be so happy there.

I like to go for a run every other morning, at home or on the road. The spacious three-story townhouse I share in Wimbledon with El Jon Wertheim and one or more other colleagues (this year, it was Greg Couch, whose AOL FanHouse column is a great read) is in a setback off the Church Road. It's a 10-minute walk up the hill from the All England Club, and a five-minute walk from the heart of Wimbledon Village, with its restaurants, pubs, coffee boutiques and grocery stores. And just beyond town is Wimbledon Common, a huge, semi-forested park with, among other things, wide but shaded dirt trails, bridle paths for horseback riding, and a golf course.

So on my typical 5-mile run, I leave the house and within four minutes I'm on the Common, where I try not to get lost as I explore this or that path. I ought to drop breadcrumbs as I pick my route, but the abundant pigeons would get them. So I try to memorize mini-landmarks (OK, left at the forked tree with the strange scar on its bark; right at the discarded and flattened juice box some child left behind). It's a pleasant exercise for someone like me, who enjoys observing details and knowing where he stands—more or less. 

I noticed this year that the typical English dog is well behaved (and they love their Labrador retrievers over there as much as we do). The dogs poke along, obediently, nosing around here or there in the brush or a trail-side meadow; they might briefly sniff a passing dog or simply trot by it. If they could talk, they might say to each other, Morning! Looks like we dodged that shower. Have a nice day!

Whereas my own dog Buck would be running hellbent through or over (he doesn't seem to care which) everything in his erratic and unpredictable path, and he'd try to engage every other dog along the trail; tease or irritate it into a spirited wrestling match, preferably near a mud hole, or goad it into playing a game of catch me—if you can.

It's often put the other way round, but I say people are a lot like their dogs.

One morning, I walked through the gate for credentialed personnel and debenture holding swells right behind an American couple, who clearly were meeting up with British friends who stood waiting just a few feet away. The British lady was dressed in a discreet, sleeveless flower-print dress and tasteful, pale yellow peep-toe sandals with a medium heel. A perfect outfit for Wimbledon, with just the right dash of (properly) sexy.

The American woman had wriggled into a tight, dazzlingly white dress with a hem well above her knees and a neckline that plunged as dramatically as a WTA ranking. She teetered on chartreuse spaghetti-strap sandals with high, pencil-thin heels.

"You look gorgeous," the British lady said, embracing her Yankee friend. "Just stunning."

What? She looks like a hooker, I thought—not that it doesn't work for me...or these other two gents.

I reckoned the British lady thought the same thing. But she's British, you see...

Anyway, as I run back out of the Common, I roll into town and stop at the grocery for some peaches or cherries, a can of that San Pellegrino Limonata (highly recommended), and a medium iced coffee (Americano) at Starbucks. If you were at Wimbledon these past two weeks, you could see Lindsay Davenport at the intersection of the High Street and Church Road on any given morning, wrestling her stroller and child up onto the curb while desperately trying to avoid spilling the cup of Starbuck's coffee in her hand, expletives not deleted.

The working conditions at Wimbledon are superb. The Centre Court compound (including the seeded-player locker rooms), International Press Centre, and Millennium building (which houses, among other things, the player's tea room/restaurant, the "buttery" for umpires and line officials, and the All England Club member's bar and dining enclave) are connected by various elevated walkways and open spaces. You can also access the massive Broadcast Centre from them, although you have to run a gauntlet of security guards who make sure your credential gives you access to each successive area. Which mine does.

My favorite spot is the "Players' Garden," the second-story terrace between the press centre and Millennium building. It has a real turf floor just like Centre Court itself, which is odd, given that you're 20 feet above ground level. The garden is dotted with lawn furniture, and there's a sandwich shop (you custom-build your own) and small bar. The Players' Garden is where you go to meet people—or catch coaches, celebrities, former players, officials and most any pooh-bah who makes his way to Wimbledon for the day.

We caught up with Toni Nadal and Bjorn Borg there, right after the final. Nearby, Grace Jones was swanning around, and she finally sat down with Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood. He's a skinny little fella, and I couldn't help overhear him bragging to Jones that he's been "clean and serene." Way to go, Ronnie.... You're too old to die now, which is how it works in rock and roll.

If you stand leaning on the railing of the Players' Garden, you may be looking down upon fans jammed into the relatively narrow walkway between the Centre Court and Millennium building. The two are connected, but only by an open, narrow bridge above the walkway. The fans have figured out that if they crowd into the passageway and stand there, they have a fair chance of seeing any personage on his way out from Centre Court to the Millennium building and transportation desk and courtesy car pick-up area. On most big days, a steady stream of tennis celebrities crosses that bridge, and each of them has a chance to wave at the cheering throngs below on either side.

Last Sunday, a maintenance man appeared at intervals after the final, as the crowd below the bridge waited patiently for a glimpse of Rafael Nadal (or was it Xisca? There sure were a lot of boys in the throng). He had a plastic Wimbledon bag full of used tournament tennis balls. He began tossing them from the bridge to the crowd, who fought (insofar as polite Wimbledon-goers are capable of aggression) for the balls, crying and cheering out all the while. It reminded me of my Catholic grammar school, where my third-grade teacher (Sister Aurelia, if I remember correctly) on Friday would have us push our desks to the walls and line up at the back of the classroom. Then she'd throw pieces of taffy or a peppermint and we'd all scramble and fight over them like they were golden ingots. Talk about old school...

Actually, the press work room where I violate the language on a daily basis is directly below the Players' Garden, and the large windows look out on that passageway and across at the Radio Wimbledon office and studio, built into the Centre Court.  All in all, Wimbledon has done a great job, from my perspective, in keeping the various parts of its official body nicely connected with the others. It's not that the other majors treat the press as the tournament body's appendix, or make a conscious effort segregate the different components of the community. It just works out that way more so than at Wimbledon. The planning has been superb and sensible.

I don't want to leave you all without a little tennis today, so here's an anecdote relayed to me by my pal Alejandro Delmas, of the Spanish language Diario As. In his meeting with the Spanish press after his semifinal win, Rafael Nadal was asked what he would write about Roger Federer if he were a journalist.

"First," Rafa replied, "no way I would be a journalist."

He went on to say, "You guys have tried to kill Roger—often. But he's always come back and proved you wrong. So one thing I would not do is make the mistake of saying Roger is dead."

A group of us caught also up with Rafa's uncle and coach, Toni Nadal, up in that Players' Garden shortly after the final. He was peppered with the usual assortment of questions, including the inevitable one: Has Rafa surpassed Federer, as the rankings insist?

"Maybe right now Rafa is the better player," Toni conceded.

Will Rafa eclipse Federer's record of 16 major titles. Toni pondered this, then gestured toward his pocket and said, "If I have to put money on it, I say maybe no."

Sixteen is a very big number, and I see two big obstacles standing in Rafa's way. The first is the state of his knees. They caused him to miss a chance to defend his Wimbledon title and, eventually, surrender his No. 1 ranking. That's no small deal. It's a valid subject for speculation, although I wouldn't start using that as an excuse when Nadal loses a match. If he plays, he's fit, or fit enough for injury to be, at best, a minor theme. But who in his right mind would miss a chance to defend a Wimbledon title, as Nadal did last year, because he had a little soreness in an arm, back or leg? That beats a note from the doctor in my book, any day.

The other roadblock is more subtle but no less formidable, and that's Nadal's lack of a natural affinity and affection for hard courts. Sure his asphalt game has improved, and he's successfully incorporated elements into his repertoire that have made him a much better hard court player. And there's no doubt that he's poised to focus his summer on making a run for the U.S. Open title that would complete his career Grand Slam. But does he really feel it on hard courts, the way he feels it on clay, and grass?

Nadal loves clay. We always knew that. But he loves grass as much as he loves red dirt, and that's a bit of a surprise. I don't think many of us took it seriously when Nadal first revealed that he really burned to win Wimbledon. We shrugged: Who doesn't?  It sounded like he was just saying the right thing, blowing a little smoke to be polite. And we'd been conditioned by a succession of clay-court champions to believe that you couldn't possible love both surfaces. Roland Garros winners like Thomas Muster, Sergi Bruguera, and even Gustavo Kuerten made no secret of their antipathy to grass; in some of their cases it bordered on contempt. Grass is for cows, and all that. They basically lowered the bar of our expectations. But Nadal, even in his youth, never harbored such feelings.

We know now how much Nadal loves grass and Wimbledon. You don't get to the Wimbledon final in four of five years, as Nadal has done, pretending to a Holstein. So Nadal's main problem now, if he hopes to catch up with Federer, is one that's not likely to change even if he should win the U.S. Open in September. He's less likely to be happy on hard courts; less inclined, perhaps, to cultivate and maintain the same frame of mind he has on clay and grass.  With two of the four majors on hard courts (the Australian Open, where Nadal has collected one title, is the other), he's going to need a tremendous fund of determination and discipline, because it's always easier to play where you feel truly comfortable, even happy.

As Rafa might say, "The true is that grass is the perfect soor-face for me, the same like clay."

Who are we to argue?

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Posted by Diane 07/07/2010 at 08:44 PM

Hi Ruth

Left you a post this afternoon on another thread about the grand babies; yes I sure hope that we will be at USTA tournaments cheeribg on Olivia and Soli!
Watching TT on the TC and my HD tv keeps shutting down. Went to Google to check out the problem and the consensus is that the power supply is going. Looks like I will be out tomorrow shopping for a new TV.
Hate it as I will have to connect my Tivo and all other components again. May call my low volt guy and have him do it.

Posted by Diane 07/07/2010 at 08:52 PM

Just saw the Fed commercial about how does that make you feel Michael? Love seeing Roger having fun and of course he's making money which he doesn't need!

Posted by Colette (On Cloud 8) 07/07/2010 at 08:59 PM

Diane, and since, apparently he and Mirka have never spent a night apart, I doubt we'll be discovering a "secret life" that will end in Tiger-size alimony!

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 07/07/2010 at 08:59 PM

Hi Folks,

Arun and CPM: That AO 09 final was phenomenal. I was thinking about it while watching the wimby final. Remember Fed and Rafa had these incredibly long pounding rallies. What a match! And the rafa/nando semi was equally good.

Diane: how old is your TV? just curious. wondering what the lifespan of these HD tvs are.

Posted by Arun 07/07/2010 at 09:02 PM

Venus vs Hingis singles match (WTT) is about to commence.

Posted by Colette (On Cloud 8) 07/07/2010 at 09:03 PM

Annie, the Rafa/Nando semi was my favorite all time

Posted by Ruth 07/07/2010 at 09:05 PM

Colette: That Johnny Cash moment was kinda cute.

Diane: I'll go check your post on the other thread. Good luck with the TV. My guy who takes care of all my computer and TV hook-up/repair stuff says he'll come down with me to Atlanta and set everything up for me; all I have to do is pay his airfare and take care of his meals. I'm seriously considering his offer. LOL

And now, Venus vs Martina Hingis in Washington, DC! C'mon, Venus!

Posted by Diane 07/07/2010 at 09:07 PM

Mirka is a very smart women!


I think this tv is about 5 years old, not sure. It's in my sunroom which is my room to watch tv; hubby has his tv in the family room with his own Tivo; only way a good relationship can remain so!

Wow just loving watching Vee and Hingis.

Posted by Diane 07/07/2010 at 09:13 PM


Glenn sells for this security-video co., mostly to high volume builders, so when you make the move, just let me hook you up with Source One and he will will give you a good price for all your needs!
No need to fly your guy down!!!

Posted by chicklet 07/07/2010 at 09:14 PM

"Rafa/Nando semi was my favorite all time"

Can't tell you how many times I've watched that semi. Especially the first two sets. The level was unreal.

Posted by Colette (On Cloud 8) 07/07/2010 at 09:22 PM

What a point, highlighting the contrast in styles

Posted by Arun 07/07/2010 at 09:22 PM

These two women can play all kinds of points!

Posted by Diane 07/07/2010 at 09:29 PM

Just loving the smile from Martina, she looks like she is just having a great time being on the court and hitting the ball!

Any thoughts as to her penalty for cocaine and Gasquet's I kissed a bad girl defense.

Posted by CPM 07/07/2010 at 09:36 PM


I was watching some highlights of the AO '09 F recently -- tough result for Fed fans, no doubt, but agreed w/o reserve that the first four sets featured just amazing stuff from both guys. Vintage Fed vs. a Rafa who'd finally come into his own: it'll definitely deserve heavy excerpting when the final Fedal highlight reel is put together (hopefully a long ways off).

But, yeah, it'll definitely be the sound of it that I remember the most. I try to replay those scuffling sounds in my head when I'm out dragging my rump on the court :)

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro to the haters, don't you wish your pusher was hott like me. 07/07/2010 at 09:40 PM

Rafa is so sweet.

Posted by Diane 07/07/2010 at 10:14 PM

Is everyone gone or is typepad not working

Posted by Diane 07/07/2010 at 10:15 PM

Well, I'm off to bed as no one seems to be here.

Night all

Posted by Carmella 07/07/2010 at 11:23 PM

Perfect grass court ya'll.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (The Youz for the top 10) 07/07/2010 at 11:35 PM


Quick drive by, Pete I loved this post, really descriptive. Wimbledon is my favourite tournament, this year especially since there was no rain and just beautiful sunshine every day. I would love to go there again.

Posted by AB 07/07/2010 at 11:56 PM

Sorry to miss a couple of shout-outs. I was at my long work-out.

I'm sure it's too late, but in case you check back on the thread...

Hi AmyLu: yah, it was a fantastic experience. We got the grounds pass and did the whole Pimms, strawberries and cream, the works.

Hey AM: If I ever get my act together to go to the French, you will be the first person I consult with.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 07/08/2010 at 02:18 AM

Enjoyed this very much, Pete. So true, about the dogs. :)

"First," Rafa replied, "No way I would be a journalist."

He went on to say, "You guys have tried to kill Roger - often. But he's always come back and proved you wrong. So one thing I would not do is make the mistake of saying Roger is dead."

I would really like to know what the journalist came out with as an answer, if he or she did, or even just their thoughts on getting that answer. :)

Also, love the way that Rafa and Roger will stick up for each other like that. :)

Posted by rg.nadal 07/08/2010 at 05:52 AM

Good post.

Posted by gauloises (unrepentant FOOP) 07/08/2010 at 06:34 AM

D Cup news from the Clash of the Titans - draw is out for Russia v Argentina in Moscow and David is down for three rubbers. I guess we'll be finding out whether his hip lies.

Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) v David Nalbandian (ARG)
Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) v Leonardo Mayer (ARG)

Teimuraz Gabashvili / Igor Kunitsyn (RUS) v David Nalbandian / Horacio Zeballos (ARG)

Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) v Leonardo Mayer (ARG)
Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) v David Nalbandian (ARG)

Poor little Horseface. He doesn't have a prayer. Not a prayer. Oh well, last time Argentina went out at this stage we got Delpo tenderly cuddling a shirtless, sobbing Pico. Maybe this time we'll get David spanking a bawling Horseface.

Nuts to life.

Posted by rg.nadal 07/08/2010 at 07:05 AM

Gauloises: Hi. I predict a 5-0 whitewash for the Russians.

Posted by gauloises (unrepentant FOOP) 07/08/2010 at 07:09 AM

My predictions: 4-1 to Russia (Argentina will turn in a searingly bromantic performance in the doubles to keep the tie alive, only to crash and burn on the Sunday when the pain of their inevitable defeat has been suitably heightened); one extreme emotional on-court breakdown (Leo Mayer); one exploding hip (Nalby's); and no shirtless cuddling to speak of.

Posted by rg.nadal 07/08/2010 at 07:16 AM

rotfl..No "there will be blood" from Youzhny?

Posted by rg.nadal 07/08/2010 at 07:18 AM

What about the other ties?

Posted by gauloises (unrepentant FOOP) 07/08/2010 at 07:31 AM

Well, there will be some form of self-flagellation from Youzh. That's a given :)

I don't think the draws for the other ties have taken place yet, rg.nadal - at least according to the Davis Cup website.

Posted by Samantha Elin 07/08/2010 at 07:37 AM

TW is fast becoming RW(Rafa's world) so I want to talk about womem's tennis which I love. This year, there has been major slumping amongs the players. I define a slump as a prolong period where a player plays less than their game allows for, or far below their norm. A good example would be Ana, no way she should be world's no 64. This is a major slump. Then there are players who are in minor slumps. Maria, a former world's no 1 hasn't beat a top 4O player all year. For someone with Maria's big game, this is huge because she's such a great player. I think you see some signs that she might be pulling out of it, but I don't buy the "she is back" as many tennis experts have said based upon playing a good match against Serena. To say she is really back, meaning like she was in 04, I think she has to start actually beating top ten players. So, I'll take a wait and see approach on her, but some positive signs there. Although JJ has remained in the top ten, she was definetly more of a factor in previous years. Now for the young and new players. Although Caro has achieved the most of all the young players, more titles, deeper runs in the slams, she needs to get outside coaching, namely a serving coach and needs to be more aggressive in her play which at time she has shown she can do. Vika has definetly not lived up to what she's capable of based on her game, she has never been passed the quarters of a slam and I think her game is far too good for that, she should be challenging some of the veteran players. Oudin: Many people have characterized her as being in a slump because of inexperience or as P-mac said, she is now "the target of the top players." I would disagree with both assumptions, I don't believe, she is in a slump as defined as playing below your ability or your game. If you said to me, well you know there this player who has went out in the first and second round of their last 6 tourneys and then you said, well, this player has a weak serve, little power and no major weapon, I would see no contradiction there. I think if you lack these key and important elements in your game it is reasonable to believe that you might have problems getting pass the second round. It's her game, not a slump which is the problem for her. Licsiki, another one who should be further along when you examine her game, but her problems have been with injuries and not being able to play on a consistent basis. The slumping sisterhood is alive and well in the WTA.

Posted by gauloises (unrepentant FOOP) 07/08/2010 at 07:47 AM

Interesting rundown, Samantha. I don't disagree with most of your assessments, although I think you're being a bit harsh on JJ - she won one of the biggest tour titles in 2010 (Indian Wells), finaled at another major tournament (Rome) and was in the semifinals of Roland Garros. It looks a lot better than her 2009, for sure, when her only title was Marbella and her best slam result was reaching the round of sixteen.

Although I definitely agree with you that JJ is capable of more and better :)

That's an eye-opening stat about Maria not having beaten a top-40 player this year.

Posted by gauloises (unrepentant FOOP) 07/08/2010 at 07:50 AM

Draw for Croatia-Serbia in Split. This tie is going to be the absolute sex - two of my favourite players who have a tendency to go a marathon five in Davis Cup. And not wishing to belabour any points here, but will be interesting to see how the crowd behaves throughout.

Ivan Ljubicic (CRO) v Novak Djokovic (SRB)
Marin Cilic (CRO) v Viktor Troicki (SRB)

Ivan Dodig / Antonio Veic (CRO) v Janko Tipsarevic / Nenad Zimonjic (SRB)

Marin Cilic (CRO) v Novak Djokovic (SRB)
Ivan Ljubicic (CRO) v Viktor Troicki (SRB)

No Ivo 'big daddy' Karlovic, as expected.

Posted by rg.nadal 07/08/2010 at 07:51 AM

As for WTA, I am disappointed with Vee's results the most. Her loss to Na at the AO could be beared. Then she does well at Acapulco, which gave me hope that she could finally win at RG. Worst was the way she lost at W. In the middle she had some terrible losses to Kim and JJ. How can she play so well in one match and play exactly opposite in the next one?

Posted by gauloises (unrepentant FOOP) 07/08/2010 at 07:56 AM

Hmmm, according to the Davis Cup twitter, Forget has tapped Llodra for the second singles tomorrow. Llodra. Against Verdasco.

Did he Forget about Benny or what? (Sorry.) Not that Benny would necessarily have had a much better shot, the way he's been playing of late. But ... oh this tie is going to suck anyway, so what does it matter? Just give Spain the damn cup.

Can we get some form of Davis Cup-predicting marine animal? My friend's got a golfish we can borrow.

Posted by rg.nadal 07/08/2010 at 07:56 AM

3-2 Serbia me think. Nole wins both his matches and Serbia wins the doubles.

Posted by gauloises (Nalby's hips don't lie) 07/08/2010 at 08:03 AM

Thinking about it, Llodra is capable - on his day - of being a spectacularly infuriating player who has driven my favourites to the point of suicidal despair. It *might* work against Verdasco, if he's off and Llodra is really, really on. But Verdasco always has to be all mentally tough in Davis Cup, so ... yep, probably a doomed gamble.

Posted by Samantha Elin 07/08/2010 at 08:09 AM

Slumps occurs in all great players career, they have all been able to work their way out of it. Funny how Roger isn't allow this, but he's done, put a fork in him. Hey, didn't they say that about Sampras, just before he won the open?

Posted by gauloises (Nalby's hips don't lie) 07/08/2010 at 08:15 AM

Here we go, France-Spain in Clermont:

Gael Monfils (FRA) v David Ferrer (ESP)
Michael Llodra (FRA) v Fernando Verdasco (ESP)

Julien Benneteau/Michael Llodra (FRA) v Feliciano Lopez/Fernando Verdasco (ESP)
Gael Monfils (FRA) v Fernando Verdasco (ESP)

Michael Llodra (FRA) v David Ferrer (ESP)

I'm assuming that's an error and Bambi-Sauce (sounds like a delicious meal) should be Sunday. If it came down to Ferru in the fifth, it would be amazing even if it virtually guarantees Spain the tie. Love Davis Cup Ferru.

Posted by rudy3 (proud Rafaelite since 2005) 07/08/2010 at 08:17 AM

i finished reading Pete and PMac's "Hardcourt Confidential". If you are a tennis fan, its a must read, great stories.
I never knew that Pmac worked with Don Imus. In my mind that is such an odd pairing. Interesting.

Posted by Samantha Elin 07/08/2010 at 08:18 AM

Gauloises, the reason why I put JJ in there is because I felt she lost a huge chance at the FO. JJ's game is very suited for the clay, she doesn't have to worry about the big serve which is neutralized and the clay plays into her strengths and ability to retrieve balls. When I watch the match against Stosur where she put up no resistance and went out easily, I was like a huge chance was missed, because the clay is really her best chance to win a slam. I think there are players like Serena who are just better on the faster surfaces. Can JJ win a slam on clay? Absolutely, but she sure didn't give it much effort this year. Also, Justine her biggest nemesis was gone and she fail to take advantage of this.

Posted by Master Ace 07/08/2010 at 08:19 AM

Hingis is 0-3 in WTT play this week as she lost to Lertcheewakarn, Spears and V Williams

Posted by Master Ace 07/08/2010 at 08:22 AM

Samantha Elin,
Will be interesting to see how the WTA will fare during the USOSeries starting on 7/26 in Stanford. Do you know that Caroline is only playing Copenhagen b/w now and Cincinnati? Good move on her part as she will play Cincinnati/Montreal/New Haven- 2 time defending champion/United States Open in consecutive weeks.

Posted by gauloises (Nalby's hips don't lie) 07/08/2010 at 08:24 AM

Yeah, I can't disagree with that, Sam. It was a pretty tame performance from someone I don't really associate with blinking in the lights. I think you're right and JJ may well rue that missed opportunity.

Not that she could necessarily have beaten Sam if she had turned it up a notch, because she was playing so great. But I so hoped for a better match from her.

Posted by Samantha Elin 07/08/2010 at 08:26 AM

I'm going to the shore this weekend and because I'm a tennis addict to the exteme(hey it's a lot more fun than drugs or alcohol) I'm going to get V's boos and Pete's book. I really don't like P-mac has an announcer, I feel that he tends to show bias toward American players. Like how can he make excuses for Oudin and constantly bash a great like Roger, but everyone says it's a good book so I'll read it. Ny favorite tennis book was Jon Weirtheim's Venus Envy because I love gossip(Is Lindsay Lohan, a hot mess or what) Vee said she hated the way that book made her seem. I watched Hingis last night, her singles day are over, but doubles I think she could do well in.

Posted by Samantha Elin 07/08/2010 at 08:31 AM

Rudy 3, curious about the book, is there a lot on women's tennis in the book,? because I won't buy a book that just concentrate on the men's game which I don't really like. Can you give me just a little preview about what they say about some of the big names? Williamses, Sharapova, Kim, Juju? Thanks if you can. If it's all men's tennis, I'm going to save my money.

Posted by Master Ace 07/08/2010 at 08:33 AM

Samantha Elin,
How did Venus look in that match against Martina? On Martina, losing to Abigail on Tuesday did not bode well for her in singles. Agree on being a tennis addict is way better than the alternate things you listed. Smart on your part.

Posted by Samantha Elin 07/08/2010 at 08:38 AM

Patrick, she looked just like someone who has done everything they said she did that day.: Book signing, GMA appearance, tennis clinic. And she looked like V normally does: Roller coaster, strong sometime and then others like a real hot mess. But that has always been her game. Some problems with getting in the first serve. She definetly needs to work on that and the over hitting, then you saw some really great shots.

Posted by Samantha Elin 07/08/2010 at 08:42 AM

Yeah, Patrick, saw that Caro has cut her schedule, I can't remember a time when she didn't play in Sweden because that tourney is very close to where she live in Denmark. Also, it's a part of Sweden that has more Dane than Swedes, it used to part of Denmark. But I'm VERY glad she has cut back and won't burn out where it really matter.

Posted by jkl 07/08/2010 at 09:03 AM

Safina will return in Stanford

Posted by wilson75 07/08/2010 at 09:16 AM

gauloises: Re: Davis Cup Schedule-Spain v France, Sunday

Spain is playing the Netherlands in the World Cup on Sunday so that's most likely why the ITF has scheduled two matches on Saturday.

Posted by TeamNadal 07/08/2010 at 09:19 AM

Rafa will be attending the WC final on Sunday!!!!!!

Posted by Master Ace 07/08/2010 at 09:20 AM

Just looked at DC website and only doubles are scheduled for Saturday

Posted by gauloises (Nalby's hips don't lie) 07/08/2010 at 09:23 AM

The ITF wouldn't alter the schedule for the World Cup, no matter how important it may be to the darling Armada.

And yep, the Davis Cup site has corrected.

Gael Monfils (FRA) v David Ferrer (ESP)
Michael Llodra (FRA) v Fernando Verdasco (ESP)

Julien Benneteau / Michael Llodra (FRA) v Feliciano Lopez / Fernando Verdasco (ESP)

Gael Monfils (FRA) v Fernando Verdasco (ESP)
Michael Llodra (FRA) v David Ferrer (ESP)

Posted by rudy3 (proud Rafaelite since 2005) 07/08/2010 at 09:55 AM

Samantha, not really much about the women's game. He has more stories about the men's side of things, and doubles, which is good.
He talks alot about Davis Cup, hilarious stories about the Bryans. And funny enough, what he says does not surprise me at all. its exactly how i picture them, lol!
PMac has a world of respect and affection for Andy Roddick. And since I do too, it was nice to read.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 07/08/2010 at 10:17 AM

I believe it is a mistake for Spain to play Verdasco for three matches.

If Costa was going to sit Almagro, he should have either brought in Robredo for doubles or given F.Lopez one of the singles matches currently assigned to Verdasco.

We'll see if Costa makes some adjustments.

I understand that the fast indoors court to be used by the French should lead to less physically taxing play, but: (1) such a surface is one of F.Lo's best; and (2) Verdasco comes into every match mentally fatigued, or otherwise mentally disadvantaged.

Posted by Master Ace 07/08/2010 at 10:22 AM

Good points in your post on Spain's chances on the fast courts.

Posted by Arun 07/08/2010 at 10:30 AM

Couple of nice articles about the upcoming DC ties. (this is more about Ljubicic actually. As always, Go Ljubicic!)

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Loving the new Vera Z) 07/08/2010 at 10:31 AM

Gauloises thanks for all the bits on DC matches. I would put Nico in as he is not that bad on hc plus he has made himself available.

I agree about Rafa going to SA, he should go and have a hail of good time.

Posted by gauloises (Nalby's hips don't lie) 07/08/2010 at 10:43 AM

Thanks Arun. I'm intrigued by the Croatia-Serbia tie, I must admit.

Posted by gauloises (Nalby's hips don't lie) 07/08/2010 at 10:47 AM

Hey Angel. I don't know what Nico's D Cup record is at all. But I would be surprised if those player noms hold up throughout the weekend. It would be madness not to play Lopez against, say, Monfils. Just a thought.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Loving the new Vera Z) 07/08/2010 at 10:50 AM

I don't know about Fer not holding up hail I don't think Monfils will hold up, like I said yesterday he really annoys me. I want Nico to get some DC glory, afterall he has been having a pretty good year so far.

I was watching Flavia's match and the stream has died and she finally takes the first set 6-4 against Jill Craybass after about six deuces.

Posted by gauloises (Nalby's hips don't lie) 07/08/2010 at 10:58 AM

Oh, I didn't mean Fernando holding up physically (agree that Bambi is always sadly a far bigger doubt on that score ) - just that I suspect Albert Costa is playing his cards close to his chest and will change things later on in the tie.

Posted by Arun 07/08/2010 at 11:03 AM

Yeah, G. Serbia/Croatia is going to be good, I think.
Argentina-Russia is a win-win tie for me. But the Argies are too weak atm, though you never know with Youzhman and Kolya himself has been out of the circuit for a while.
Hope France can pull it off (though they probably won't). Allez Lloders!

Posted by gauloises (Nalby's hips don't lie) 07/08/2010 at 11:06 AM

I've decided to look on the bright side with Argentina/Russia and just be thankful that my Argies at least won't be losing to Spain :)

Really annoyed that Sky is airing France/Spain and not Serbia/Croatia - you know there's going to be two epic five-setters in the latter, just on the first day. I know there's streams, but I can't watch streams at work.

Do you have the time to listen to me whine ...?

Posted by Arun 07/08/2010 at 11:19 AM

Ha. I can't watch TV (and streams, of course) at work. So you're in a better position, I guess.
(TTC is airing France/Spain too.)

Posted by gauloises (Nalby's hips don't lie) 07/08/2010 at 11:21 AM

I know, I'm lucky. Since headcount went down I don't even have to negotiate with the cricket fan who used to share the one above my desk, meaning it's tennis or off :)

Posted by I hate it when I am at a grunting concert and they start playing tennis 07/08/2010 at 12:22 PM

So Rafa is going to South Africa this sunday for the world cup final, eh?

What happened to his knee treatment? I thought he couldn't go because of it. I guess now that suddenly Spain is in final, which let's face it, won't likely happen again for some time, soccer-crazed Rafa with his "other" uncle lost their cool and decided to go South Africa and ditched the knee treatment. Now that'll give Rafa's minions trolling in France for DC big motivation, ha ha.

Posted by Tari 07/08/2010 at 12:42 PM

"First," Rafa replied, "No way I would be a journalist."

*hugs Rafa*


*runs away screaming in horror*


Posted by beth 07/08/2010 at 01:01 PM

The Davis Cup tie between France and Spain had so much potential way back when .
oh the possibilities ... A healthy Tsonga against a healthy Armada ... A rematch between Verdasco / Gasquet on the heels of the controversy in Nice ... A rip roaring doubles match between two solid teams ... Monfils / Verdasco demonstrating their own personal brand of headcasey ness ... And France's best chance to defeat the two time defending champs
all up in smoke
I don't see France taking a single rubber here . Not one
Now - if they had put the tie on grass , and called in Mahut - they might have scared the crud out of the Rafaless spaniards ...

but with all the injuries to Tsonga, Gasquet , Simon , and then there is always the ever shaky Monfils
I just don't see it happening.
No matter how hard Llodra and Benneteau try . ( and they will give it their all )

looks like this will be a good weekend to be a Spanish sports fan to me

Posted by Lucius the Luscious (Head Cheerleader - Team Dark Side) 07/08/2010 at 01:09 PM

Tari - It's ok, you can hug Rafa. It doesn't mean you like him. Fed won't mind. he's hugged Rafa plenty of times :)

I hate it when I am at a grunting concert and they start playing tennis - I don't get any of your post. It seems judgemental when you have none of the details. Maybe he's already had the treatment. Rafa's knees may need treatment, but it doesn't mean he can't walk to his seat in the futbol stadium. Rafa has done plenty in his career playing for his country. Some would argue it helps the other Spanish players with their confidence on the ATP tour when they experience DC victory and have a chance at national honor.

Beth - I completely agree that the DC match between France and Spain had battles and struggles written all over it. As Fed would say, "It's a pity."


Posted by Tari 07/08/2010 at 01:14 PM

I did kinda like it, LL. ;-)

Posted by beth 07/08/2010 at 01:17 PM

Lucius !!! good to see you here again
I saw you were here the other day , but you had left by the time I was around
anyway - how ya been ?

I don't see any reason Rafa could not go to the World Cup if he wants . He is on vacation , isn't he ? He may as well enjoy his time off , And futbol seems to be one of his favorite things to enjoy in his time away from tennis . He can get treatment before and after his trip . Toronto / Cincinnati are over a month away . And the rest will do him good. And if it really an issue - I think he can afford to have his trainer/ treatment travel with him , no ?

yeah , the French / Spanish DC tie is kind of a mere shadow of what might have been - but ya never know , I guess. This is France's best chance - being on French soil this time - so we shall see.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 07/08/2010 at 01:27 PM

There is an unconfirmed rumor that the Spanish fútbol team requested Rafa's presence, in order to bring the team good luck.

Supposedly, every member of the team will give Rafa's butt a deep rub in order to absorb some of his good fortune by osmosis.

Much as some might want to think otherwise, the Spanish populace, in general, considers fútbol about 20 times more important than tennis.

Rafa is doing his patriotic duty, Knees be damned.

Posted by Papo (Got Nadal?) 07/08/2010 at 01:48 PM

Chris Evert's glory days were a bit before my time, but you have to feel sad for the situation she currently finds herself in.

Posted by Lucius the Luscious (Head Cheerleader - Team Dark Side) 07/08/2010 at 01:53 PM

Rafa to Tari - You like my biceps, no?

Beth - Things are very good. When I first started posting I was unemployed. After a nice sabbatical, I started my own consulting firm, so work has kept me from posting as much. Now I live in SF and am experiencing the same June gloom you are, although I am a little further from the beach (~20 blocks) than you.

I will still follow the DC tie. I have been lucky enough to see both France & Spain play the US in DC, no Rafa though. :( I guess whenever you play for your country a battle can ensue. We gonna see, no? One of the best DC matches I ever watched was between Roddick and a lesser known young kid named Nadal. Even though the US lost, for me, it was love at first sight and my Rafa KADism was born.

manuelsantanafan - oh lordy.. Do you think they will notice if I slip into the line of Spanish futbol players and cop myslef a rub?


Posted by Queeny 07/08/2010 at 01:55 PM

UK viewership was down 4 million over last year.

NBC also suffered lower ratings this year.

Posted by Tari 07/08/2010 at 01:55 PM

I enjoyed that article, Papo! It is sad what her choices have made of her life, but it sounds like she is learning from them and talking about them in a healthy way. I admire her for that.

Posted by Lucius the Luscious (Head Cheerleader - Team Dark Side) 07/08/2010 at 01:58 PM

I guess I missed the fact Evert and Norman left their spouses for each other. Crissy will always be my favorite female player of all time, moonball and all!\


Posted by Lucius the Luscious (Head Cheerleader - Team Dark Side) 07/08/2010 at 02:03 PM

Beth - when we as fans start making judgements on what is acceptable for players to do on their vacations, we have totally crossed the line. That's why I didn't understand that post. Plus, I'm pretty sure Rafa bowed out of DC before Spain was in the final, right?


Posted by beth 07/08/2010 at 02:04 PM

Lucius - glad to hear that things are going well for you . And yes, this June gloom has gone on way too long. It has been a very weird summer here. I know there are folks in the east who would gladly have our cool , temperate weather right now , so I hate to keep bringing it up - but I want to be out in the sun , at the beach , doing summer things - not bundled up in sweat shirts - sitting inside my house.

Perhaps if NBC did not bollox up the coverage of a live sporting event - and in the process alienate their core viewers in the US - their ratings would be better. Did that ever occur to you , Ebersol ?
or maybe we should let the ratings go to nil - and then NBC would let another network , one that is interested in displaying tennis live ... oh who am I kidding ?

Posted by beth 07/08/2010 at 02:06 PM

Lucius - totally agree with you about Rafa and his vacation plans
They are his - and his alone . So I just hope he enjoys them
I do believe he had withdrawn from the DC tie shortly after his match with Petzchner at Wimbledon

Posted by Lucius the Luscious (Head Cheerleader - Team Dark Side) 07/08/2010 at 02:11 PM

Beth - No kidding, It's July for goodness sake. Gloom Be Gone! I think you're right maybe we should stop publicly complaining that we live so close to the Pacific Ocean :)

That's what I don't get about the coverage. They black out the ESPN coverage, then NBC doesn't cover it all. I would understand it if it was a masters event, but it was freaking Wimbledon! I know the interest in tennis in the US is bad, but I do know this: a lot more of my friends/family/colleagues are mentioning tennis to me and in particular Nadal.


Posted by Sherlock 07/08/2010 at 02:11 PM

"I also really miss Greg's parents. The best part about him are his parents."

Ouchie for The Shark. :)

Posted by Lucius the Luscious (Head Cheerleader - Team Dark Side) 07/08/2010 at 02:14 PM

"Perhaps if NBC did not bollox up the coverage of a live sporting event" - Beth that was so English of you. You are still in a post-Wimbledon groove. :)


Posted by Lucius the Luscious (Head Cheerleader - Team Dark Side) 07/08/2010 at 02:17 PM

Sherlock - Yikes! That wasn't passive-agressive or anything.


Posted by Samantha Elin 07/08/2010 at 02:20 PM

Kim and Serena play tonight and Justine will be watching. Does anyone know if there are any live streams for this match. Thanks. Go Serena!

Posted by TeamNadal 07/08/2010 at 02:23 PM

Shakira will be headlining the WC Closing Ceremony on Sunday....sneek peek at what she'll be wearing made for her by Roberto Cavalli:

Posted by Samantha Elin 07/08/2010 at 02:25 PM

They are calling the match: The best of Belgium vs The best in the world. So disrespectful for Juju when she has more than double the slams of Kim who barely missed being a one slam wonder.

Posted by Sherlock 07/08/2010 at 02:28 PM

LL, no kidding! Hell hath no fury like Chrissie scorned. :)

Posted by Lucius the Luscious (Head Cheerleader - Team Dark Side) 07/08/2010 at 02:32 PM

Samantha - maybe they mean "the Best" right at this moment now. Would you agree that Kim is currently playing better tennis than Justine, no matter the reason (rust, tweaking form, etc.)

All I can see is the marketing people scrambling to come up with a catchy "Thiller in Manila"-esque title for this at the last minute.


Posted by CherryNYC 07/08/2010 at 02:35 PM

Hi all!! Pete, that was lovely. And my post-Wimby withdrawal continues. Intriguing DC matchups, however. Croatia v. Serbia...hmmm, no hard feelings there, I'm sure. Let's hope an international incident doesn't break out in the middle of a match....

News item of the day: Is anyone else utterly horrified by the fact that Ringo Starr is about to turn 70? (****feels decrepit***)

LeBron: Don't care. Rafa breaking Fed's GS record: totally possible, I think. Chris Evert: I just don't get it. Although I hope it was a happy 18 months for Norman 'cause he paid his first wife a boatload of money...

Posted by Ruth 07/08/2010 at 02:35 PM

Well, beth and Lucius, we heard some of this kind of talk when Rafa had to take some injury time off last year and was seenfishing and then lolling on the beach with friends because, as we all know, fishing and going to the beach or flying first class to South Africa and attending a football game are just as strenuous and taxing on the body as playing two or more professional tennis matches. LOL

Posted by Master Ace 07/08/2010 at 02:36 PM

Friday Order of Play:

WTA: Budapest at 5:30 AM - Sevastova vs Dulgheru
WTA: Bastad at 6 AM - Pennetta vs Dulko to be followed by Safarova vs Rezai
WTA: Budapest at 7:30 AM - Schnyder vs Hercog
WTA: Budapest at 9:45 AM - Szavay vs Cornet to be followed by Medina Garrigues vs Ondraskova
ATP: Newport at 11 AM - Fish vs Dancevic and Harrison vs Bloomfield scheduled

Davis Cup Schedule(Friday - Saturday - Sunday):
* = Number 1 Player

France vs Spain (7 AM - 8 AM - 7 AM)
Gael Monfils* vs David Ferrer
Michael Llodra vs Fernando Verdasco*
Benneteau/Llodra vs Lopez/Verdasco

Russia vs Argentina (7 AM - 6 AM - 5 AM)
Nikolay Davydenko* vs David Nalbandian
Mikhail Youzhny vs Leonardo Mayer*
Gabashvili/Kunitsyn vs Nalbandian/Zeballos

Croatia vs Serbia (8 AM - 9 AM - 6 AM)
Ivan Ljubicic vs Novak Djokovic*
Marin Cilic* vs Viktor Troicki
Dodig/Veic vs Tipsarevic/Zimonjic

Chile vs Czech Republic (10 AM - Noon - 10 AM)
Nicolas Massu* vs Ivao Minar
Paul Capdeville vs Jan Hajek*
Aguilar/Capdeville vs Cermak/Dlouhy

Posted by Master Ace 07/08/2010 at 02:36 PM

"Shakira will be headlining the WC Closing Ceremony on Sunday"

No wonder Rafael decided to go to the World Cup on Sunday 'cuz he wants to be a Gypsy

Posted by spacenoxx (Vamos Rafa) 07/08/2010 at 02:37 PM

20 years of marriage thrown away for what? A couple of years with a guy who leaves you high and dry...sad really. The thing is the guy probably is all right and will move on to someone else. Its Chris who will have to pick herself up :-(

Posted by spacenoxx (Vamos Rafa) 07/08/2010 at 02:41 PM

Master are bad. Don't tell me you passed this tidbit on to Xisca as well....tsk..tsk

Posted by Sherlock 07/08/2010 at 02:41 PM

"News item of the day: Is anyone else utterly horrified by the fact that Ringo Starr is about to turn 70?"

Lol, CherryNYC. Yes, this is not good news. I think I immediately aged a couple years upon hearing that news. Weren't those four guys supposed to stay young forever? :)

Posted by Ruth 07/08/2010 at 02:41 PM

Master Ace: You're lucky that AM isn't around to give you a hard time for that Shakira/gypsy comment. BTW Where is the ubiquitous AM?

Posted by Arun 07/08/2010 at 02:42 PM

Samantha: Someone tweeted this livestream --

Posted by Lucius the Luscious (Head Cheerleader - Team Dark Side) 07/08/2010 at 02:43 PM

Ruth @ 2:35 pm - WORD. My point exactly. Well stated.

Cherry NYC - I am with you on LeBron. Basketball is one of my favorite sports (behind tennis & NASCAR), but when I saw an entire hour devoted to his "Decision", I thought WTF?


Posted by Sherlock 07/08/2010 at 02:46 PM

I hope there are technical difficulties during LeBron's "look at me" bonanza tonight so nobody actually sees it. :)

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