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Blue Velvet in the O2 11/21/2010 - 7:42 PM


by Hannah Wilks, TennisWorld Contributing Writer

Two weeks ago, I saw the Paris Meridian, also known as the Rose Line. For many years, it was considered the prime meridian; the line of 0 degrees longtitude which divides the eastern and western hemispheres. But in 1884, a conference of scientists decreed that the Greenwich meridian - which now runs right past the western edge of the 02 Arena - was the Prime Meridian; that London was the alpha and omega of the world. One unintended consequence of this instance of punching above one’s weight on a global scale is that this week’s tennis takes place at 0 degrees longtitude. As the signs insist, it’s the final showdown. Zero hour.

The ATP likes to play up the Britishness of this event; London, as anyone watching the World Tour Finals is repeatedly reminded, is calling. The players pose with the Prime Minister or a red London bus, as if there’s nothing more to being British than a suit and a stiff upper lip. Personally, next year I want to see the eight finalists come out of a TARDIS dressed as various cultural heroes from the UK. Harry Potter. Robin Hood. Shakespeare, complete with tights and Elizabethan ruff. Mr. Darcy and King Arthur. Labyrinth-era David Bowie. Braveheart. Speaking of whom, the stars just might be aligning for Andy Murray, who recorded the first singles victory of the championships today in a 6-2 6-4 defeat of Robin Soderling.

Murray, well-rested, set loose on a slow, low-bouncing indoor court, has as good a chance as anyone of ending his turbulent year on a high note. Better, if you believe in the power of home-court advantage. But I’m wondering if, The Clash notwithstanding, there is anything quintessentially British about this event that makes playing here a better experience for the Scot than what he might find at any other anonymous indoor venue.

A tide of people made its way to the arena, braving the icy rain hanging in the air and the biting wind blowing off the Thames. Tennis is calling, and London is answering. It’s not like a Wimbledon crowd, either; scattered throughout are the sort of middle-ageds you’d expect to see in SW19, who pack for a day’s spectating as if it’s a hiking expedition, but there are plenty of groups of young people, too. It’s not a lawn tennis crowd; it’s a London crowd, and that means that there are all sorts of people here. This is the newly gentrified Docklands (it’s not too far from Deptford, where the street my mother grew up on was condemned for slums and demolished to make way for a high-rise), not leafy Wimbledon. This is the heart of a city that continuously reinvents itself.

The 02 arena itself started out as the Millennium Dome, built by the New Labour government at a cost of 789 million pounds to celebrate what it meant to be British at the year 2000. Five years later, a colossal white elephant, it was sold as an empty shell to Orange to be rebranded; a bloated failure to define our national identity, repackaged as a slick, corporate entertainment facility.

Last time I was here, it was for Kings of Leon; last week, it was the Gorillaz; next week, something else. Everywhere you look this week, though, you see ATP World Tour Finals branding and signage. The big screens carry vignettes on the sponsors’ support for sporting opportunity for children, or remind the crowd that Sky carries over 100 hours of live tennis a year. Volunteers shoot ATP -branded T-shirts into the crowd during breaks; the fans are asked to call the toss at the beginning of the match. Tennis, tennis, everywhere, and plenty of Corona to drink. But this venue was made to be a blank canvas, and the blanket of tennis promotion that covers it this week will be whipped off next.

Unlike the Parisian hip-hop and house of Bercy, the London DJ favours classic rock and pop during changeovers, with a fondness for Britpop, Bowie and Lady Gaga. Raised on the silence of Wimbledon, there’s an expectant hush during points, and a minimum of polite applause between. Invited to show their appreciation for the slick play of the Bryans, the crowd dutifully complies, but it’s about to get a lot louder in the arena. Because Andy Murray is about to play.

There’s no shortage of hyperbole preceding the British no. 1 on to the court. On the pre-match VT, Justin Gimelstob informs us that Andy Murray is the master of when to use the drop shot (a bold statement that Murray will later seem intent on disproving). The announcer describes him, apparently without irony, as “an amazingly gifted and talented athlete who reads the game like a wily veteran”. Robin Soderling is introduced as … Robin Soderling.

They still haven’t got the hang of the son et lumiere in the stadium, missing audio-visual cues all over the place. Soderling, too, looks out of step with events; the choruses of “c’mon Andy” from the crowd are restrained, partly because Murray rapidly establishes dominance. The pace and power of Soderling’s forehand is more impressive, and less ungainly than it looks on TV. For a shot more utilitarian than beautiful, the length of the backswing makes it seem almost impractical.

This one is the fifth Murray match I’ve been lucky enough to watch in 2010, and I’m nowhere near getting sick of it. He’s amazing when he wants to be - smooth, aggressive, clever. I love watching his feet, and the exceptional balance that enables him hit forward while going backwards, which creates good depth on even defensive shots.

I like Soderling, too, but the experience is a bit like watching a Hollywood action hero taking on a gang of foreign terrorists. You know Soderling is going to attack, pummel the ball, press forward until he misses. The formulaic elements don’t vary, but you still want to see it unfold. Watching Murray, on the other hand, is more like viewing a David Lynch movie. It's  incomprehensible at times, full of twists and turns, sequences of unexpected and hypnotic beauty, and permanently on the verge of straying into the surreal.

I’m also aware of how often Murray aces his way out of trouble. One has to wonder, can he - will he - ever serve big for seven matches in a row? Without that ace, you’ve pretty much got a hole where a grand slam should be - and a crowd that still finds more entertainment in ironically cheering for the retired Tim Henman, the paradigm of the plucky over-achiever, than it does in taking the often rocky path of being a full-on Murray fan. Errors are greeted with a peculiarly British mumble of disappointment, a dispirited acknowledgement of the inevitable, and even Murray’s exceptional first set doesn’t satisfy the punters - a young woman near me shyly says “he’s playing well, isn’t he?”, only for her boyfriend to snap “he’s world no. 4 [sic], he should be playing well.” Tough crowd.

But Murray’s a tough player. He isn’t Monfils, looking outside himself, drawing energy from the cheers; I don’t know if he hears the crowd, if it means anything to him. He’s introverted, inwardly focused. It’s not a coincidence that he yells his own name when he commits an error he finds particularly egregious. He does like to complain, looking down at his legs, the court, his racquet when he makes an error, searching for something to blame. That’s British. I think about all of his disappointments this year - Melbourne, the lost months when he seemed sick of it all, his crushing defeat at Wimbledon and the disaster that was the US Open - and what it must take to pick up and carry on.

That’s rather British, too.

[[I'm pleased to say that once again this week,  during the Barclay's ATP World Tour Finals, we have Gauloises covering the action for TennisWorld. Only now, shortly after posting, I've changed her avatar to her proper name. Hannah will be filing regulary, at least during the early going, and don't forget to look for Racquet Reaction posts as well - Pete]]

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Posted by izidane - It's t-shirt tyyyyyyyyme! Nole face/hawk shirt on. 11/22/2010 at 06:06 PM

That loopy FH came into Andy's game and the big wins just became that much harder to get. He was definately hitting it flatter in Miami.

BTW, imo JayZ is HipHop. Catch his Daily Show appearance last week, he articulated it quite well if his lyrics alone don't stand up well for everyone.

Later guys.

Posted by Carrie 11/22/2010 at 06:08 PM

*yello fuzzy: When was the last time you actually saw Jay-z? He's one of the best dressed men in hip-hop.

Yeah- I mean he occasionaly wears a hoodie and necklace but he does not have his pants dragging on the ground and is also prone to wearing suits, etc.

Posted by wilson75 11/22/2010 at 06:08 PM

Old man Fed: I personally don't frazzle over Roger anymore but I know that there are many who will. But I would love for him to win tomorrow, so that I could be spared the British media crowing over another Murray victory over Roger.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 06:09 PM

Tuulia Word!

Posted by THE MIGHTY NADAL 11/22/2010 at 06:10 PM

Murray will beat Federer in 3 sets. Andy was very sharp yesterday!

Posted by AB 11/22/2010 at 06:11 PM

Hi Ruth: yes, it was entertaining, but hardly predictable. This was the 1st round match with the biggest upset possibility, given all the givens.

Although I did not expect Rafa to start out serving well under 50% and strewing UFEs all over the place, I did think it would go 3, with no idea who would end up on top.

Amazes me how little joy so many posters here have in watching end of the season tennis between the top 8.

...and wanting to share their negativity and gloom.

I thought that both players brought some flashes of their best tennis today. What more could anyone ask for?

Congrats to Rafa for his 1st match win at the YEC in, how long? Lo siento, RAndy, you came out firing with a good game plan. You still have a chance to make it out of the RR because you won so many games today.

Posted by Mrs Tennis 11/22/2010 at 06:11 PM

Oh...and by the way, my house is sparkling! LORL (Laugh Out Really Loud!!!)

Posted by Carol 11/22/2010 at 06:12 PM

Hi everybody

That first set Rafa played awful (long vacations are not good for him) later he did better and better. Bad serve and short shots but at the end he won. I'm sure next match he is going to play much better

Posted by Rumbling Sod 11/22/2010 at 06:12 PM

Murray will beat Federer and put presure on him. Then I hope my man will brings his A game like he did at French open.

Posted by AB 11/22/2010 at 06:13 PM

AM: very disappointed Remus won't be financing your retirement with his celebrity income.

Though I did see the "Harry Potter" movie and it was excellent! The movie was better than the book.

Loved the landscape of the British Isles.

Posted by Mr Rick 11/22/2010 at 06:14 PM

Speaking of hip hop, there is quite the buzz on Kanye West's new album. Haven't heard it yet myself. The guy is a pain in the a%%, but I have to admit a great, creative artist and a buy some of his stuff.

Posted by Ruth 11/22/2010 at 06:14 PM

"Predictable win for Rafa...." Really? I certainly didn't think so during or after the first set and even at times beyond that. I guess it's all in the eye of the beholder. Rafa is one of my faves, but RAndy is my #1; so I'll just hope that he keeps his spirits up and plays well in the next 2 RR matches.

Posted by The Mighty Nadal 11/22/2010 at 06:16 PM

Rafa was sidelined for a month so this result was expected given the opponent was Roddick. He will get better with more matches under his belt.VAMOS Rafa!

Posted by Carrie 11/22/2010 at 06:17 PM

Mr Rick- I have heard good reviews for the album and plan on picking it up. I agree he can be a real pain in the rear/stinker but yet- he amuses me. I do think he is in on the joke and his twitter entries have made me laugh.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 06:17 PM

AB Wll thats the model business I guess.Main thing Remus and Herimone are soo muc better.I hear the new Harry Potter movie is the best

Posted by yello fuzzy 11/22/2010 at 06:17 PM

I just looked up some of Jayz's lyrics and the amount of curse words and the liberal use of the dreaded N word is just ridiculous. it's baffling to me that this guy is heralded as a great artist, he's just regurgitating ugly
is it possible for Jay Z to do a song without cursing or referring to others as N's ? Seems like thats all he's got

Posted by Ruth 11/22/2010 at 06:19 PM

Hi, AB, glad you agree with me about the absence of predictability in the match. With a predictable outcome, I would have spent less time "hiding" in the lauundry room or switching nervously to CNN. LOL

Posted by temes 11/22/2010 at 06:20 PM

I really don't care for Harry Potter and hiphop/rap. But I understand why people like them.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 06:20 PM

Thank goodnees they didnt start playing Kylies

I'm Spiining Around in the break or I would have Died!

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro 2010 YE #1 11/22/2010 at 06:21 PM

Just read where Serena has withdrawn from the Hopman. The US better hope Vee replaces her because last year the team of Isner and future "top ten" Mel went out easily. Does anyone know the real extend of Serena's injuries?? I have a feeling it is more serious then we're told. Over at the WTA world site, they were reporting she was in a wheel chair, not that I believe everything over there. And as AM mention, Cronin, that lover of all thing about American tennis except the two best player is constantly talking about their retirement. Wishful thinking, no doubt. Love Round robin because your favorite can lose and still stay around. Kom igen, Robin. I miss Caro so much!! Scandinavia beautiful and talented World's no 1.

Posted by Carrie 11/22/2010 at 06:22 PM

yello fuzzy- I don't like that word. But I can't agree with you that he is worthless and his lyrics are always awful and his only skill is cursing. Again- you may find some of his interviews interesting. Of course, it may not change your mind at all- but he does in some of them explain the use of some words- in particular in the aforementioned Fresh Air interview on NPR.

But as always- we don't have to agree. :)

Posted by Mr Rick 11/22/2010 at 06:22 PM

AB, you are quite right, whenever we can get the top 8 players, healthy and playing well, all in one spot for a week, we should be quite happy.

I guess with the weird indoor surface, its just a little nerve wracking - its harder to predict who will will this tournamant than who will win the Kentucky Derby - which can be QUITE unpredictable...

Posted by chicklet 11/22/2010 at 06:24 PM

Well, Rafa won at least one. Color me pleased.

+1 to whoever said that RAndy was going to lay a beatdown on Berdy. Poor guy, forever the nearly man.

Both matches tomorrow should be great. I expect an easy 2 set win for Fed, and a hard fought 3 set nailbitter for Ferru.

Posted by temes 11/22/2010 at 06:24 PM

Samantha one of the weirdest things about Serena's injury is that she herself or her doctors don't seem to understand whether it's serious or I mean didn't she play an exhibition just days after it happened? And then something's just a bizarre thing all around.

Posted by Carrie 11/22/2010 at 06:24 PM

AB and Mr. Rick- it is great to have all eight playing. When is the last time that all eight players who qualified were able to play?

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro 2010 YE #1 11/22/2010 at 06:25 PM

The mighty Swede will be on fire tomorrow!!!

Posted by Texastennis 11/22/2010 at 06:26 PM

What's not predictable about Rafa winning this match? I mean if you called it beforehand of course, not during the match. Their recent and year long form, their respective records in close matches, and the very slow surface all strongly pointed to Rafa being overwhelmingly the likely winner - and he delivered.

Posted by Glenn (I change a bit the grip) 11/22/2010 at 06:27 PM

Hi Everybody !

Ruth: Congrats on your Eagles beating my Giants.

Speaking of the Philadelphia Eagles, everyone should check out what they're doing with their stadium. Very Impressive !

Posted by Andy Murray 11/22/2010 at 06:27 PM

Murray will beat Federer again! I just know it!

Posted by Nam1 11/22/2010 at 06:27 PM

Wooo hoo Rafa fans, time to celebrate! He won ONE match! That's all I asked for. Thank you tennis G.O.D.S.

Saw the Harry Potter movie on the weekend; definitely the best of the series though it was much darker than the rest. Harry and his friends have definitely grown up.


Posted by Colette 11/22/2010 at 06:27 PM

"Rafa is one of my faves, but RAndy is my #1"

Reverse the "R's" for me, so unfortunately I had to root against Randy today. Glad he did well, tho.

Ruth, btw, a very belated Happy Birthday.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro 2010 YE #1 11/22/2010 at 06:28 PM

Temes, exhibition is a lot different from a serious, competitive match in which you want to win. Serena was there to collect a paycheck, because if you saw the match, you couldn't call that real tennis. She was smiling and looked like she couldn't careless. She was even smiling at Juju so I know she wasn't taking it serious because she doesn't like Juju after that FO incident. Kom sa, Caro, Kom igen Robin!!

Posted by Andy Murray 11/22/2010 at 06:29 PM

Andy has Federer's number!I can't wait for tommorrow!

Posted by Mr Rick 11/22/2010 at 06:29 PM

yes, Carrie, and, bless his heart, the more time he spends on his music and other creative projects, and the less time he spends running his mouth about other things, the better for all ...

Posted by temes 11/22/2010 at 06:30 PM

Yeah Samantha but I meant it isn't smart to take part in walking let alone a tennis exhibition if you have a serious foot injury. So I don't know what's up with Serena's doctors and their advice.

Posted by Roger Federer 11/22/2010 at 06:31 PM

May I disagree!

Posted by Andy Murray 11/22/2010 at 06:31 PM

If he beats Federer tommorrow, I think his gonna beat Federer at grandslams next year.

Posted by yello fuzzy 11/22/2010 at 06:32 PM

I just think the great influence these guys Diddy, Kanye and Jay Z have on a generation of young men is not positive .Most of the subject matter in their lyrics are basically this: I got mine, you don't, I got my bling, I'm bad, all those gays and ho's and b*tches ....I come from a time when music was melodic and you could sing along without having to bleep out all the curse words. I love all kinds of music, even some rap...I always loved the Beastie Boys because they rarely if ever used the N word and when they do curse, it's in jest and not to dis someone else...I'm all for creative cursing
; )

Posted by Andy Murray 11/22/2010 at 06:32 PM

Andy will beat Federer and maybe Soderling will beat Federer. Isn't that wonderfull!

Posted by Glenn (I change a bit the grip) 11/22/2010 at 06:33 PM

Rafa will probably play better as the tourney goes on.

He was nervous about last year's performance, Roddick's victory the last time they met, not having recent match play.

Posted by AB 11/22/2010 at 06:35 PM

Ruth: I guess many of the TWibe are as rich as Teddy Forstmann since tennis matches are so "predictable" they must be reaping heavy betting paydays.

temes: I think someone at Scholastic could have heavily edited the last few Harry Potter books, but old JK Rowling captures the tension and uncertainty of coming of age as well as the poignancy of friendship. The last 3 movies have exceeded her artistry as the kid actors have grown into their roles.

Mr. Rick & Carrie: I am getting into this tournament and hope for our fellow TWibers planning to attend that they get to see their faves play well.

Posted by Andy Murray 11/22/2010 at 06:35 PM

Andy will try to put the ball to Federer's backhand-side and break his serve. It will be just like when they played at Shanghai!

Posted by Mr Rick 11/22/2010 at 06:36 PM

Carrie, it seems to me that at least one player has had to withdraw from the finals the past 2-3 years, and of course Rafa was there last year but only physically...

I think Roddick had to withdraw one year, Nalbanian another, ????

Posted by wilson75 11/22/2010 at 06:36 PM

yello fuzzy: Last week, Oprah who in the past, has stated that she's against rap actually recommended Jay-z's book to her audience. She said that those who are close-minded about hip-hop/rap should read it. I think you should check it out.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro 2010 YE #1 11/22/2010 at 06:36 PM

Temes, you know Serena is Serena, not sure she would pay them any attention to her doctors. Temes, I saw her in some really high heel boots. Love her, but she is too much. Get well soon.

Posted by Mr Rick 11/22/2010 at 06:38 PM

it is way past the bedtime of both Andy Murray AND Roger Federer - you have matches tomorrow - go to bed

Posted by Carrie 11/22/2010 at 06:39 PM

yello fuzzy- did you used to like more of the trip-hop rappers such as De La Soul (Three Feet High and Rising was my best friend's and mine soundtrack for the start of our sophmore year)and Diggable Planets in the late 1980s/early 1990s? Or Tribe Called Quest? If you have never head them you may want to check it out.

Posted by Carol 11/22/2010 at 06:42 PM

Mr Rick, LOL

Anyway Andy Murray, I hope you'll play good tomorrow!!

Posted by Carrie 11/22/2010 at 06:43 PM

Must echo the lol to Rick's comment.

Posted by Heather 11/22/2010 at 06:47 PM

Oh geeze I get home to find out Andy lost and then Sarah Palin was just on my tv. I just ate about 4 brownies, I'm an emotional eater! :) Congrats Rafa fans! Guess it was a good thing I couldn't watch. I was trying to follow the score on my phone on the way home in the car, then remembered that it is now illegal to "improperly use" your telephone in our state, thank goodness it was dark out and none of the cops spotted me!

Hugs to Kristy and my fellow Andy fans!

Posted by Ruth 11/22/2010 at 06:47 PM

Thanks, Colette!

"Oh...and by the way, my house is sparkling! LORL (Laugh Out Really Loud!!!)"
Mrs. T: I did all of the laundry from my two sets of birthday houseguests during that match! The last batch is in the dryer. :)

Glenn: Sorry about that whipping my boys put on your guys. Well, I'm not really sorry! :) Go, Michael! Go, Eagles!

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 06:51 PM

As I said before

I wish Rafa could just win normally without the drama

I am a Mature Woman and I cant seem to take this excitement much anymore

He has his Career Slam so I am happy still..............................

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro 2010 YE #1 11/22/2010 at 06:52 PM

ESPN is reporting Data Krumm at age 40 will retire in 2011. Will she be back? At least Dina and Maria don't have to worry about being embarassed again. Good luck to her.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 06:53 PM

Glenn Us Giants fans have to stick togehter ok

Posted by Tuulia 11/22/2010 at 06:53 PM

AM, but that's what the booze is there for ;)

Posted by eclipse22 (rafagirl VAMOS RAFA WINNER OF ALL FOUR GRAND SLAMS) 11/22/2010 at 06:58 PM

phew! que suerte la tuya rafalito!!!!
i couldnt stay online and watch the match at same time, i say it over and over rafa u cannot afford to lose a service game on this surface, u rarely if ever are able to make a comeback, its just the way it is!
i don't know how he squeeze through in that second set but boy oh boy as usual when it happened i knew it was over for roddick , rafa seemed less tight , getting into a rythm,andy started getting pierce left and right!
commies andy, there's still hope for u, as long as it doesnt involved messing up rafa's plan!!!

Posted by yello fuzzy 11/22/2010 at 07:00 PM

I love the trip hop and anything that was creative and had some love in it...I don't feel the love in Jayz work or Kanye and Diddy...before gangsta rap, their was a real creative force in hip hop music, there were innovations (jazz and accoustic hip hop albums, someone even tried a hip hop opera)now it just a vehicle to strand certain young men into intellectual purgatory. there are no PM Dawns or Diggable Planets,Arrested Development, or even a Me'Shell Ndegéocello today..its all the same, Eminem,JayZ, Kanye and they all sound the same lots of cussing, hate for gays, and liberal use of the n word.
o and how tough the streets are...well duh!
eewww I am getting too off topic...sorry folks

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 07:01 PM

Tuulia I never drunk alchol much till I followed Rafa

There may be a hidden message there also its not kind on your skin when you get to my age also the drugs either may I add.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 07:04 PM

Then again I also follow Safina?

She dosent help my cause either lol!

Posted by Diane 11/22/2010 at 07:08 PM


Just got home a little while ago and am trying to catch up with tennis news

I see I missed your birthday and sure hope it was fun; I know you have been busy with house guests but I have spent the day at my church hanging the greens and getting the tree decorated a few days before schedule(believe me I had lots of help as it's a big church) because my dear friend Susan's funeral is tomorrow. Now it's Thanksgiving and I will be at my daughter's in laws at Lake Oconne for the holiday, hope we can get together before Christmas. Enough personal info and back to tennis which I didn't get to see and that's why I love gives me a view of how the matches went.
You Rafa fans seem to frazzle a bit too much, of course he was a bit rusty but did you really expect him to lose to Andy R? Rafa is the # 1 player and has won almost everthing he played this year, why do you doubt him?
We Fed fans know what it's like to watch a match and have no clue who will show up!
Sorry for all Andy R fans as it seems that he was really in the match but it's he same old story....close but no win.

Posted by Tuulia 11/22/2010 at 07:11 PM

AM - yes, watching tennis can be hazardous to one's health, indeed. Not just the tranquillising substances, but also sleep deprivation, non-regular sleeping and feeding times etc. Oh and tense muscles. I'm pretty sure I don't have a heart condition or I'd have died years ago.

Posted by Glenn (I change a bit the grip) 11/22/2010 at 07:12 PM

Ruth: No need to be sorry. It was a total win for youz guys !

AM: So you're a Giants fan too !! That's awesome. As for the alcohol and drugs, my only recommendation is to rotate the substances of choice :)

Posted by ender83 11/22/2010 at 07:17 PM

Great writing man. Will the Poms ever get what they want??

Posted by Glenn (I change a bit the grip) 11/22/2010 at 07:20 PM

Yellow Fuzzy: thanks for the suggestions on the hip-hop. I'll check them out.

Stepping out to pay some bills.

Later Y'all

Posted by Carol 11/22/2010 at 07:28 PM

Tuulia and AM, LOL, I understand what you say. It doesn't matter easy or difficult match but to watch Rafa playing give us too many emotions

Posted by Master Ace 11/22/2010 at 07:33 PM

London Order of Play:

Lukas Dlouhy and Leander Paes vs Jurgen Melzer and Philipp Petzschner at 7:15 AM
Roger Federer(61-13; 12-6) vs Andy Murray(45-16; 6-3) at 9 AM
Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan vs Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski at 1:15 PM
Robin Soderling(56-21; 5-8) vs David Ferrer(60-22; 7-12) at 3 PM

Lukas Kubot and Oliver Marach vs Wesley Moodie and Dick Norman at 7:15 AM
Tomas Berdych(44-25; 5-9) vs Andy Roddick(48-16; 4-3) at 9 AM
Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic vs Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi at 1:15 PM
Rafael Nadal(68-9; 8-4) vs Novak Djokovic(58-16; 3-6) at 3 PM

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 07:33 PM

Tuulia Did I mention the stomach ulcers as well and Panic Attacks? lol!

We Rafa fans I think have "steel everything" lol!

Glen Rotation of substances you might be onto something there.Good to see you here again Bye!

Carol Yes Rafa tends to bring out the "emotions" in his fans.Though at the end of the day I would not have it any other way really.

Posted by AB 11/22/2010 at 07:35 PM

Diane: if you're still around, I saw yr post a few days ago and meant to offer condolences re yr friend.

I hope they achieved some peace before the end.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 07:35 PM

Hell Rafa plays Novak next

I need to visit my friendly bottle shop and chemist for more supplies


Posted by Kristy 11/22/2010 at 07:39 PM

Hugs Heather, and other Andy fans. I left work and looked frantically for a bar that might have Tennis Channel -- never thought I'd think "why don't bars have more TVs?" But no one had tennis so I walked home over the Brooklyn Bridge (in pointy shoes -- ow) and got the deflating news when I got home.

Always so close. Well, I hope he can beat Berd. But watch Berd wake up and be deadly against him.

Posted by Tuulia 11/22/2010 at 07:41 PM

I wouldn't have it any other way, either. :)

Posted by Diane 11/22/2010 at 07:42 PM

Thanks AB

This Thanksgiving means so much to me, realy going to focus on the positive things in life and all of us have things to be thankful for as all of us have things that are trying and difficult.
Funny thing is that here we find tennis and our favs not winning causing us angst. Yes when Fed plays a supid match and loses, I get upset!!I hope I get to see his match in the A.M.; even if he loses it will be a nice distraction for me.

Posted by Ruth 11/22/2010 at 07:42 PM

Hey, Diane. Sorry to hear about the sad news about your friend, and especially coming, for her family, during the usually happy holday season. We'll chat after Thanksgiving, OK?

I haven't given up on Roddick's chances of doing well in the WTF, and I hope that others of his fans will also keep the faith. RAndy bus is still parked in my aunt's yard near Wimbledon, so I might have to consider taking a quick flight over to London, revving up the engine, and heading to the O2! LOL

Posted by Heather 11/22/2010 at 07:44 PM

Ruth, I think you should rev up the engine! I'll pick up some snacks!

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 07:47 PM

Heather and Kirsty

Commies to you I did leave a post before.I thought he had the matc in ways.I still feel he will beat Tomas with ease quite frankly.So Chin Up.

Posted by Heather 11/22/2010 at 07:50 PM

Thanks, AM! :) Congrats to you! Hoping Berdy doesn't decide to have the best match of his life or anything on Wed, Andy's got a pretty excellent record against him so we shall see.

Hope your feet are okay, Kristy!

Posted by Colette 11/22/2010 at 07:51 PM

Diane, I add my sincere condolences.

Posted by Ruth 11/22/2010 at 07:56 PM

It's deal, Heather!

It's funny...I just thought of my near-Wimby aunt when someone mentioned that Kylie Minogue (sp?) was at the match because my aunt became a great grandmother a few months ago, and she complained bitterly to me on the phone that her granddaughter had named the new baby after "some stupid singer or actress she likes named Kylie something." I couldn't help laughing because it sounded like something my late mother would have said, with that unique West Indian pronunciation of "stupid." :)

Posted by Diane 11/22/2010 at 07:56 PM


Thaks for the kind thoughts and I might have to get back on The RAndy bus with you. I had lost faith and interest in him for awhile as I did with James Blake but I am mellowing a bit about Roddick again, he like Roger is in the twilight phase of his tennis and I guess I would like to see him have at least one more big win.
Have a nice Thanksgiving and do as I will and forget all Weight Watcher's points.
A bit OT, I have the TV on in the backround and am listening to Entertainment Tonight and they are discussing Dancing With The Stars which I don't watch but it seems that Britol Palin is causing quite a stir; seems the Palin family were meant to be media stars.

Posted by Kristy 11/22/2010 at 08:00 PM

Thanks, AM. My chin is rising from your prediction. (:

Posted by AB 11/22/2010 at 08:00 PM

I love sports and the intensity of competition. There are no "done deals" in sports. You have to close out the match, cross the finish line in front, overcome your own nerves, bad calls, hot opponents and off days.

That's why we play and that's why we watch.

It's a tough ask for Ferrer or Le Sod to make it out of Group B, but Ferrer has often played Le Sod very tough, and MAndy is capable of beating Roger in straights. That would make the 3 RR matches very interesting and the number of games won/lost much more important.

I could see Nole beating Rafa and RAndy taking out Berdy. Again, that would make 3rd round matches in Group A important.

I want to see more 3 setters and tighter matches. I'm looking forward to the next round.

Go Everyone! Bring your best.

Posted by Diane 11/22/2010 at 08:01 PM


Thanks much to you and night all, off to watch "House"

Posted by Kristy 11/22/2010 at 08:03 PM

Diane, I'm sorry for your loss of your friend. That's very sad.

I'm glad you're back on the RAndy express -- he can be exasperating and rude, but...
er... well, there's just something about him.

Heather, thanks, my feet are recovering. (:

Andy did do well. There's reason to hope.

Posted by Metro 11/22/2010 at 08:07 PM

Strange schedule of Murray vs Federer match. Most people are still at work and Television rating likely lower than evening prime time.

But then it is equal oportunities and people can watch Soderling vs Ferrer at prime time.

Posted by Mrs Tennis 11/22/2010 at 08:13 PM

Ruth...laundry...SLOL (still laughing out loud!!!)


Posted by Ruth 11/22/2010 at 08:22 PM

Amen to your 8:00 pm comment, AB. As you indicated earlier, luckily for Betfair and other similar companies, most people aren't as sure of the outcome of tennis matches as some members of this TWibe. :)

And to those TWers who might still be wondering why Andy fans and/or Rafa fans might have thought that there could have been an Andy win today (even before set #1), let me offer two bits of infomation: (1) in their last meeting Andy beat Rafa in Miami this year; (2) Andy has won a higher percentage of his matches with Rafa (37%)than have other top guys like Djokovic, Murray, and Federer (app. 31% to 33%)!

Posted by Texastennis 11/22/2010 at 08:34 PM

Did someone already note that Hrbaty has announced his retirement? Tis the season...
With winning H2H against Federer and Nadal according to James LaRosa's tweet.
I wonder if he's the only one who has that? Surely he is.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 08:48 PM

AB If your still around.The agent just called me they have changed the
fashion shoot till next week and also they want both Remus and Heriome in a TV commercial the following week

Hello Chanel!!!!!!!

Posted by AB 11/22/2010 at 09:01 PM

AM: fantastic! heh, heh. I am so envious of you. Most people can't get their cats to do anything.

Yours might afford you a new piece of bling, or better yet, another trip to a Major tournament to watch your boy. Maybe you should just stay in Europe next year and go to Wimbledon, too?

C'mon cats, get to work making money for your mama.

Posted by AB 11/22/2010 at 09:04 PM

Tt: only surprise was that Hrbaty waited this long to retire. I seem to recall that a few years ago he was already running out of material for his shirts. Hee.

Posted by Texastennis 11/22/2010 at 09:08 PM

AB lol.

Posted by thebigapple 11/22/2010 at 09:10 PM

lol, hb.

hard on poor dominic....

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 09:18 PM

AB Hmmm I think I should really set up a Trust Fund for each of them

I dont want to be classed as one of those "pushy parents"

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 09:27 PM

He must be over 30 by now he did have funny teeth if I remember

Though I loved the moment when he and Roger shared the same chair in the break last time they played each other

Posted by lollipop 11/22/2010 at 09:40 PM

"Hell Rafa plays Novak next

I need to visit my friendly bottle shop and chemist for more supplies


Hi AM. long time. also ditto to ur comment about Rafa-Nole encounter. ouch.

Posted by AB 11/22/2010 at 09:40 PM

AM: How will they even show up on camera? Aren't Bombays basically just a pair of round copper eyes in a sea of black?

Do yours talk, ride around on Roombas, play with faucet water or otherwise perform?

I think it's wise to try to keep your stage parent's (aka tennis coach) persona from ruining your kitties chance at stardom.

With your taste for expensive accessorizing you must do everything in your power to keep them employed.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 09:44 PM

Hi Lollipop LOL!

AB There is always a problem with getting their right eye colour.Being Amber is does cause problems.Though these photographers are pros so they can adjust.

The TV commerical will be interesting lol!

Posted by CL 11/22/2010 at 09:50 PM

AM/lollipop -no worries for Rafa vs. Novak 'Is It DC Yet?' Djokovic. Slower court, even w/relatively low bounce will help Rafa and the chances are pretty good that Novak's mind will already be back in Serbia. He REALLY wants to win DC at home....and who can blame him? But to defeat Rafa you have to bring 110% focus and though Novak's HC record against Rafa is good, methinks the wandering mind will allow Rafa to kick down the door. If Novak gets down early, look for Rafa to steamroller.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 09:53 PM

CL I am already ordering extra drugs and alchol I dont want my cupboard bare ok.

Well at least it will be a much better match than the Yawn Fest I witnessed between Novak v Tomas.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/22/2010 at 10:04 PM

So, Rafa was rusty today? Or is it a bad matchup with Roddick?

In 2004, Rafa defeated the #1 Fed in straights on HC but got bageled by Roddick in the same year at USO.

Ofcourse, Rafa is not the same player anymore.

I have always wondered..that if in 2005 or 2006...would Roddick have had more chances of making more finals if he fell in Rafa's half instead of being in Fed's half GS after GS, year after year. to Roddick for *still* being in the top 8 since 2003. It ain't easy.

Rafa is ofcourse Rafa. Seen him win just way too many times after being 1-5 down with Fed serving for the set. So, predictability is also a bit based on individual perception.

I would have never bet any money on Roddick winning today.

As for tomorrow, I hope Fed brings his best game. Last year, Muzz's wheels came off in the last set. Nothing against the Muzz...but i wouldn't mind if the wheels came off for the Muzz this year too.

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