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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 just horsen 11/22/2010 at 10:04 PM

CL, agreed. Roddick was sharp today, and still didn't get the win, Nole's gonna have to be great. Even if Rafa isn't 100% he seems to want it so bad this yr he's gonna be hard to stop.

AM: what in the world is up w\Rafa's fashion these days? 1st the awful haircuts, then this hideous yellow on purple thing...I like the grey shorts, and the purples ok, but who in the world thought up the yellow sweat\hairbands? The whole outfit would look better if they were grey!...ohh for days of FO 2008! When Rafa steamrolled his opponents and ruled apparel world.

Posted by just horsen 11/22/2010 at 10:05 PM

edit: "ruled THE apparel world"

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 10:10 PM

just horsen The Nightmare Continues Rafa has never been the same until those insane Nike people deciced he needed a New Image.Pfft.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 10:14 PM

The kit has a caramel tee with white swirls on it with those shorts which he was to wear at Bercy.I didnt see the Maroon/Purple/whatever colour he had on today in that kit.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 10:16 PM

By the way I was nearly sick looking at it.Of course the match had to go 3 sets of course.Like he cant wrap things up in 2 sets.pfft.

Posted by Colette 11/22/2010 at 10:24 PM

Just checking back in and OMG, AM, I see Remus and Hermione will be giving new meaning to the "cat walk." Stars are born.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 10:24 PM

Ladyjulia I will be interested to see if Murray can keep up the same level of play he did against Soderling? also the pressure is on Andy too playing in London the press will surely "give it to him" if he has a bad match.He has the ablity to win this tournament.Though to me he is too inconsistant this year.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 10:28 PM

Colette LOL! I hope they behave themselves thats all.

The Fashion shoot is apparently "avant garde"? Remus has to kind of wrap himself on the models shoulder.Well he perches himslef on my shoulders lol!

The TV commercial is where they both have to walk though I will just over them some treats lol! that should do the trick.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 10:30 PM

Well its lunch time for me

Bye for Now

Posted by just horsen 11/22/2010 at 11:54 PM

"By the way I was nearly sick looking at it."

-unfortunately, I had other obligations and couldn't watch the, I think that might have been a good thing. :) Glad Rafa won though!

AM, is there any way we could get this tournament moved to Aus., pronto? Seems the only free time I to watch tennis anymore is 2am! :). Right now, all the match times are conflicting w\other things and I have only been able to see about 30mins. total. :(

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/23/2010 at 12:02 AM

oh Andy u can really break a heart, i still cant believe the moonpies that come off your racquet that used to be rockets, so many loopers, u think youre gonna grind out Nads?

bah! epic fail very disappointing...

Posted by Master Ace 11/23/2010 at 12:02 AM

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 manuelsantanafan 11/23/2010 at 12:07 AM


What became of the Roddick whose game was big first and second serves, followed by big forehands, and pummeled Rafa the first time they met at the U.S. Open?

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/23/2010 at 12:11 AM

geez Nad KiDS, how can winning ONE match lead to such shock? rafa is NO 1 in the world by 3000 points, i mean, what planet are some here residing on? geez maybe Nads should play challengers next year, its such a shock when he wins right?!

at least Fed fans step up and expcted him to win every darn match he played when he was no. 1, this today was not exactly an upset for a 3 Slam in a rown winner... now he will play Djoker in a meaningless third match, and Djoke will save energy and tank ...

a Fred nads semi is in the works and given the impossibility of hitting through this court, well ...

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/23/2010 at 12:24 AM

roddick hits puffy loopy forehands now, WHY, Ill never ever know... i mean he gave it a good go but what a stupid gameplan ... he needed even more aggression to acutally WIN the match, close doesnt count ... tennis is going from a sport about racquets to a sport about mostly about legs... bah

Posted by Aube,pappi's trying to make me jealous?!!!,remember, I bore those kids Pappi,lol! 11/23/2010 at 12:51 AM

Hey Tim you too,let us frazzle if we elect too,it's like as Nadal fans you don't let us do anything,we can't frazzle,we can't brag,we can't duck,we can't laugh,what will you allow?lol
Let us at least frazzle when we know this is the big kids arena,remember it's a contest against the best(Year End) so we have got to shiver and quiver,yes we can!!!

Posted by kim 11/23/2010 at 01:08 AM

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/23/2010 at 01:09 AM

step up and be the fan of the NO. 1 who's the favorite every match, and not as if he's some rising junior who pulls off upsets when he wins... how about that :)

rafa does the same thing, he's never the favorite, even when he's no. 1 by a zillion points, talk about the best of both worlds!

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/23/2010 at 01:30 AM

"Rafa has never been the same until those insane Nike people deciced he needed a New Image."

I think it did him good overall, judging by results. :) & I like the WTF kit.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/23/2010 at 01:34 AM

I thought Rafa and Djokovic were playing the second match and not Friday's third match? (at least, that's what the BBC's match report said.)

I imagine Djokovic will want some revenge too. Can't see him tanking really.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/23/2010 at 01:47 AM

AB - enjoyed your comment at 6.11pm. :)

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/23/2010 at 01:52 AM

Jewell Hmmmm well how did I know you would say that regarding Rafa's clothes

I mean Purple/Maroon/with caramel head band and those shorts just dont go and the socks Please?

I was nearly sick.It wasnt the colour combo he was supposed to wear

I demand the singlet back ASAP.Also those Brown/Green/jungle wall paper shorts he word you must be kidding.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/23/2010 at 01:57 AM

Also I didnt think Andy tanked at all.

Rafa got better as the game went on.Okay he hasnt played for weeks and has always been a player that needs matches.I wish people would give him some credit.How many times have we thought he is going to lose? you cant write him off ever.I feel for Andy and he should have won in 2 sets though with Rafa you can never under estimate him

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/23/2010 at 01:59 AM

Jewell When are you going to watch the matches?

Posted by kim 11/23/2010 at 01:59 AM


Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/23/2010 at 02:03 AM

Kim Thanks at least Rafa is in "neutral colours"

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/23/2010 at 02:06 AM

Anway I will be wearing my Chanel sunnies next time he plays

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/23/2010 at 02:07 AM

Oh, no, Andy didn't tank - Tim said upthread that Djokovic would if he played Rafa. I disagree. :)

It was only those two bad points to give the break back in the second, and then that Rafa return that the TB turned on. I thought it was a pretty good match overall with some fun shotmaking from both men. And I agree Rafa improved as the match went on, especially his serve.

I prefer the sleeves generally to the sleeveless & pirata look (blasphemy, I know), although I agree the IW or Miami shorts weren't up to much. :)

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/23/2010 at 02:09 AM

Ooh, the cuddly cardigan. :) There were some nice pics at Moya's send-off of Rafa and Roger laughing into one another's eyes, too...or have I been reading too much bad romance again?

AM - I'm going this evening, I think Friday evening, and for Saturday's afternoon session. Hoping to meet Gauly and Nic today.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/23/2010 at 02:16 AM

Jewell What matches will you get to see?

Oh is Nic in London now she moved from Sydney

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/23/2010 at 02:18 AM

Tonight's singles match is Ferru vs Soderling which ought to be fun. :)

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/23/2010 at 02:22 AM

Jewell You wont get to see Andy v Roger? any Rafa matches at all

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/23/2010 at 02:25 AM

I still have to go to work this morning & there's no way I could get to London for a 2pm match start. So during the week it's evening matches only. I've seen Roger & Rafa live once each which is happy-making enough; anything else is a bonus. :)

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/23/2010 at 02:28 AM

I forgot you still have to go to work and the start.Oh well as you say you have seen Rafa and Roger live not bad.

Well I hope Andy can maintain his good playing level against Roger

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/23/2010 at 02:31 AM

Murray-Federer could be a cracker of a match. Think I might manage to watch some before heading out again.

BTW, I forgot! Congratulations on Remus and Hermione's new stardom. You'll have to stop them from becoming prima donnas and refusing to eat anything but the best Scottish smoked salmon or something. :)

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/23/2010 at 02:37 AM

Jewell LOL!

Well the fashion shoot was supposed to be tomorrow I told her Remus had been sick even though he was better I thought it best to cancel.Anyway she rang me today and said the shoot will be next week.Also they both want Remus and Hermione in a TV commercial next Thursday.I hope they behave themsleves thats all.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/23/2010 at 02:42 AM

I was reading some interviews with Rafa after his match I had to laugh at this

He said he now can play with more "calm" or "colm" now he won his first match lol!

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/23/2010 at 02:43 AM

"Ever the joker, Djokovic said that Maradona was doing some tennis coaching with him. "We're working on some specifics, like how to play high balls with the hand," he said."

LOL. *loves Djokovic in that mood*

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/23/2010 at 02:44 AM

Jewell Well Maradona has been at all the matches soo far

Well I didnt know Kylie was a Tennis Fan she sat next to Moya's g/friend today.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/23/2010 at 02:48 AM

I think Maradona's going to be there all week. Can't say he's my favourite sporting celebrity in the world but he does add star quality to an occasion. :)

The BBC said Kylie was clapping Rafa. Perhaps he's going to be in a video with her next.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/23/2010 at 02:52 AM

Hmmm Jewell please not after that Sakira Woman

Pat Cash my "un fav Aussie Ever" also was seen sitting next to Kylie

He cant help himslef can he? pfft.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/23/2010 at 02:55 AM

I can just see Rafa taking over Jason Donovan's part in the video for "Especially for You".

I can't help but like Cashy, although he can be annoying sometimes. :)

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/23/2010 at 03:01 AM

Jewell Hmmmm I have a upset stomach you like Pat?

Ok I am really ill with Rafa taking over Jasons' part really>

Also David Beckham and Posh will be coming to Sydney she is soo thin we will probably not notice her.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/23/2010 at 03:07 AM

I think I have a bit of a soft spot for, shall we say, "rogue-ish" types.

Is Beckham moving to Sydney, AM?

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela YEC Doubles Champion and Winner of 7 Titles in 2010) 11/23/2010 at 03:08 AM

I'm with you Jewell I don't mind Pat Cash at all at least he is better than Shane 'mobile phone' Warne. Loved Cash when he was playing.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/23/2010 at 03:10 AM

Jewell David is coming with the Galaxy soccer team and Posh is coming with him.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/23/2010 at 03:12 AM


I see I am out numbered

Sorry I cant stand him period.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/23/2010 at 03:13 AM

Angel! How are you?

Hm...I dropped my copy of Amsterdam in the bath on Sunday night & the pages are still wet. Very annoying as I want to read it & can't.

Guess Posh doesn't want to let him out of her sight. :)

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/23/2010 at 03:28 AM

Well I am afraid noone holds a candle to Pat Rafter in my eyes any way.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela YEC Doubles Champion and Winner of 7 Titles in 2010) 11/23/2010 at 03:33 AM

I just didn't like Pat's dad. But Cash is no worse than any other commentator going around. I see the Poo is going into bankruptancy (sp!).

Jewell I am good but very busy at work today and I am out tonight and tomorrow night so no tennis for me. My social life is getting in the way.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/23/2010 at 03:33 AM

Well I have to make dinner and then get to bed early for the matches

Hope that Roger v Murray is a good match

Hope that David Ferrer can get a win too.Sorry AA for that


Have fun at the tennis Jewell.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela YEC Doubles Champion and Winner of 7 Titles in 2010) 11/23/2010 at 03:35 AM

Meant didn't like Cash's dad, though he wasn't as bad as the Poo's dad. I wish JMac's dad would come back and comment here, I loved his view on things.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/23/2010 at 03:35 AM

I'm off to work, 'bye all. :)

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela YEC Doubles Champion and Winner of 7 Titles in 2010) 11/23/2010 at 04:25 AM

Ok I am 9 pages behind but have just read that Serena has pulled out of HC, I'm not really surprised. Could Argentina be a replacement with either Pico (personal fav) or Elf playing alongside Dulko who has had mixed results at HC in the past.

Posted by Tic 11/23/2010 at 04:35 AM

Bloggers have the explanation for Kylie Minogue's presence in Nadal's box:

"Kylie Minogue was sitting in Rafa’s box together with her Spanish bf, 10 years her junior, supermodel Andres Velencoso Segura, next to Moya and his gf Carolina Cerezuela.

Google Mr. Segura, he’s worth taking a look.

I believe they all met this year during Wimbledon at that Spanish restaurant in South Kensington called Cambio de Tercio (there were joint photos on their site). This is where all the celeb Spaniards in London hang out and it is Rafa’s favourite."

Posted by Tic 11/23/2010 at 04:38 AM

Some more essential info from tweetosphere:

"Another blonde celeb in the audience was frequently shown and captioned - January Jones (actress playing Don Draper’s wife Betty in Mad Men).
A Brit journo tweeted he saw her after the match waiting for Nadal (to take a photo with him, apparently) like some regular fan.
Ah, those cougars."

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela YEC Doubles Champion and Winner of 7 Titles in 2010) 11/23/2010 at 04:41 AM

Tic thanks for the gossip, keep up the good work.

Posted by Tic 11/23/2010 at 04:49 AM

And on a more serious note, Gimmelstob reported that Nadal rolled his left ankle a bit during his practice yesterday, but is on the mend.

Posted by Kim (Swiss in Brisbane) 11/23/2010 at 06:05 AM

Congrats to your cats becoming fashionistas and TV stars!
Have to work tomorrow. Not sure, if it's worth to stay up
to watch Roger loose. (Let's go Roger!!!)

Enjoy tennis as always!
Bye for now.

Posted by Metro 11/23/2010 at 06:42 AM

I went to the WTF on Mon and watched both matches. Djokovic vs Berdych was a letdown and I felt shortchanged for my ticket. Djokovic played well with solid service game, smart drop shots, good FH and clinical net winners. But Berdych didn't show up with his patchy 1st serve and iffy volleys. Djokovic attacked Berdych 2nd serve and got early breaks in both sets.

Nadal vs ARoddick was extremely enjoyable and lived up to its top billing. Roddick's 1st serve was brilliant with plenty aces and points, he sliced and came to the net for volleys. Nadal had plenty FH winners, passing shots and won longer rallies. Impressive how Nadal turned the match around. My first time to watch Roddick live and both players earned my respect.

The event has improved with a earlier commuter friendly start. The new fan zone with sponsors' pavillions showcasing their brands, promotions and tennis themed activities. Service challenge, tennis art, interactive games,tennis for kids, mock beach and more chill out areas for fans to relax and talk. It is a win/win idea as fans have somewhere to go before/after matches and sponsors get more exposure. Good job.

Posted by jodiecate 11/23/2010 at 06:59 AM

Am surprised about all the talk against Rafa's outfit, i love it - it's WAY better than the pink. "Rhubarb and Custard" some are calling it, lol Rafa's "dessert" range

Must be frustrating having a "slower" surface than expected (yay :D)
but not getting the high bounce (boo D:) that'd be confusing

LOVIN IT! that he got the win even after playing so bad in first set or so!
High drama's fine with me Rafa, if i wanted predictable straight sets i'd be more of a Fed fan. Three setters are fine too! Keep it up hey?!!

Posted by jodiecate 11/23/2010 at 07:05 AM

Forgot to say well done "Hannah" for the article, love the DL analogy for MAndy!! perfect!

"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"

Posted by Holds 2 Love 11/23/2010 at 07:37 AM

Hi jodiecate, I'm a gauloises KAD, but for me, the David Lynch/Andy Murray (now there's a doubles team!) analogy involves a fair amount of poetic license. perhaps they share a brooding intensity... otoh, would love to hear some Angelo Badalamenti music at the O2... It might work in that venue and would be a switch from London Calling. :) Who's applying to DJ next year? wilson75

Mel/Pet up a break in the first set against Dlo/Pae, 3-1

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro is something special. 11/23/2010 at 07:45 AM

Just reading Tim's obsessive posts on Rafa and they're LOL. And Tim has the nerve to call me out when I write about Oudin. Here's the difference, the things said about Rafa's game are true, he is a great player and worthy world's no l. The things said about Oudin's game have more to do with hype than reality. Just came into wish Robin the best, if he loses today, he's out. would love to see him go the distance. I really wish the so called "tennis experts" would give Serena the benefit of the doubt they seem to give to other players. Cronin just posted pictures of her on crutches and she recently had a second surgery, yet he and other are still insinuating she's is faking an injury. There was even an article posted here by of course an American writer which said she didn't deserve to be no 1. This was when she was no l and holding two current slams and had been no l for most of 2010. I have NEVER seen an article writen that a player should lose their no l status because they're injured and can't play. I guess in America different rules apply when we're talking about Serena. The same Cronin who has doubted Serena was the same one who defended Sharapova when she claimed she was too injured too play Fed cup for Russia. Yet he felt the need to call Serena out for not playing. Serena is clearly injured, the fashionista isn't hobbling around with an unattractive boot and crutches because it looks good. So get well soon, miss you and hope you're back to defend your title. Serena come back and make them mad again by beating the players they favor. I loved it when she beat Sharapova at Wimbledon because so many wanted her to lose and she defied them. Love her rebel style. Kom igen Robin.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro is something special. 11/23/2010 at 07:48 AM

Although Robin is my favorite, I wouldn't mind a Rafa/Fed final. Can you imagine what this place would be like? Now that is hott!!

Posted by ladyjulia 11/23/2010 at 07:56 AM

Fed Vs Muzz is 9 am? Will have to rely on matchcalls...

I hope Fred is locked up and thrown into the river. He can swim back later.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/23/2010 at 07:59 AM

Few of the British journos are picking Muzz..saying the court favors counterpunchers.

Posted by Kwaku 11/23/2010 at 08:05 AM

Hi TWibe.

Yesterday was scary for this rafan. Roddick was theoretically the weakest opponent in the draw, and still Rafa almost lost in straights against him. He was lucky to win the match. If he does not improve, Nole is going to expose him tomorrow big time.

Yes, Rafa normally improves as he advances in a tournament (that's his business model, right?), but here the opponents are top dogs from the very beginning. At the same time, the round robin format may ease the pressure as compared with the usual knock-out format. Which may be good or bad. I am curious to see how Rafa reacts to a match with Nole he may not necessarily need to win. In his own words, "I can play with a little bit more calm the next match. But even if I lose the next match, I’m still going to have chances to be in the semis." Will this "calm" make him play better or worse?

And I don't trust Berdych a bit in the last RR match either...

Posted by temes 11/23/2010 at 08:05 AM

Wow front is really dramatic...which is further increased by the fact that Djokovic looks like Al Pacino and Ljubo like Marlon Brando there lol.

Posted by GB 11/23/2010 at 08:05 AM

From twitter, the presentation of Rafa's no1 & Edberg awards will be after Fed-Muzz

Posted by sisu 11/23/2010 at 08:20 AM

Yes!!! Mel/Pel take the first set!! Whew!!

Hello everyone. ;)

I didn't recognize the song but I think LukasD was singing along while Leander was taking a break. On to set 2.

Posted by @work 11/23/2010 at 08:22 AM

Hello everyone!
I had internet issues right before the start of Rafa's match.
Still I was able to catch the second and third set from home.
Oh my, was I glad that I pulled that stat from the FedEx reliability zone just before the start of the match showing that Rafa has the best record of winning matches after losing the first set! That's about the only thing that kept me somewhat hopeful yesterday.
And I know, I know, many here think or say they knew that Rafa was going to win but honestly when he was down a set and a break in the second, it was hard for me to believe he was going to be able to turn it around (not to even talk about the nightmares from the three losses last years that kept playing up in my head)

Posted by @work 11/23/2010 at 08:41 AM

Looks like I killed the thread :)

Anyway, I was looking at more stats and not surprisingly Roger leads the indoor and hard categories which is a good omen for him, no?
Not that he needs it really since he knows how to win tour finals.

It's just 15 minutes till Fed & Andy, where is everybody?

Posted by ladyjulia 11/23/2010 at 08:41 AM

Greg Rusedski has picked Muzz to win today.

Either way its going to be a three setter, weird match today where someone's wheels will fall off. The question is whether it will be Muzz or the Fed.

Posted by @work 11/23/2010 at 08:43 AM

Hi! Glad to see I am not alone :)

I think Fed is winning this one. We'll see.

Posted by @work 11/23/2010 at 08:44 AM

Oh I just realized the match will probably start late since the doubles is far from over...

Posted by Master Ace 11/23/2010 at 08:46 AM

Believe it or not, my day job did not block the free streaming of the doubles.

Posted by Kwaku 11/23/2010 at 08:48 AM

Hi @work, since you ask, I'm @work. But going home now to watch the match.
As for tonight's, Ferru has beaten Sod 2 out of the last 3 times they've played, that is 66.6%. (Please don't fill me in with more details about their earlier h2h history :-)

Posted by @work 11/23/2010 at 08:48 AM

Master Ace,
Am I glad to see you!
What's happening with the doubles?
My SB is acting up again cause it's been stuck at 6-7, 3-0 and 15-40 for the longest time.
Glad you're streaming. No such luck on my end.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/23/2010 at 08:49 AM



I don;t like to bet against the Muzz in a three set match...but i think Fed has good chances and he is in good form (ignoring the five matchpoints in previous tourney).

Last year, the Fed was able to shut Muzz out..and the winner of this match will have it easier to go to SFs. So, they both will be motivated.

Fed is obviously playing catch-up in the H2H..but with two coaches, and good form, it will be quite disappointing if he goes down to the Muzz. Not that Muzz is a lowly player or anything, he's obviously a multi-slam winner potential (like the Fed said)..but Fed's gotta win while he can. He's only going to get older and slower as time goes on. Got to use his chances while he can.

Posted by GB 11/23/2010 at 08:51 AM

Hi @work, ladyjulia & anyone else!

@work: I also couldn't shake nightmares about last year during Rafa's match. I think he said it was on his mind as well.

Posted by @work 11/23/2010 at 08:51 AM


Hehe... I won't, I promise!
I must admit I have been neglecting David and Robin so I haven't been checking on them at all.
I would love for David to win though :)

Posted by Master Ace 11/23/2010 at 08:52 AM

Melzer/Petzschner is serving at 7-6(9),4-5. They broke Dlouhy/Paes as soon as I got streamed.

Posted by @work 11/23/2010 at 08:54 AM

Master Ace,
Thanks! Tried refreshing a couple of times but my SB is not moving :(
Hope I can get it to work for Andy and Roger.

Posted by Heather 11/23/2010 at 08:55 AM

Good Morning everyone!

Roger/Andy is the early match?

Posted by Master Ace 11/23/2010 at 08:56 AM

30-40 for DP as Jurgen smash stayed on his side
DP breaks and takes the set 6-4 as Philip smash sails wide

Posted by Master Ace 11/23/2010 at 08:57 AM

Yes, Federer and Murray should be playing in about 20-30 minutes as the doubles are going to STB.

Posted by jackson 11/23/2010 at 09:00 AM

I'm with you jodiecate. I love Rafa's outfit too. I think he looks great in bright colours. They look good with his skin tone. I even liked his USO fluorescent lime day outfit better than the night black.

GB, I read that too that Rafa's being presented with his awards tonight although I thought I read that they were going to happen before the match, not after. Whatever, I hope the livestreams carry it as I'd love to see it. I had to laugh at Roger's comments when he got his FF award. You can tell he was really chuffed to lose the Sportsman award. Almost the first thing he said was that he tries to be a good guy and tries to play with fair play against the other players. Um, Roger, that was last year's speech. :D

@work, I wasn't so sure Rafa was going to win when he was a set and a break down either! To me, he just looks so uncomfortable on this 'surfrace' and doesn't play with his usual confidence. Of course, with Rafa we always have hope because he's so fierce and competitive but boy he puts his fans through some palpitations first! I'm not usually a frazzler but I'll be frazzling for the start of the Djoko match on Wednesday.

Posted by sisu 11/23/2010 at 09:02 AM

Had to step away. Hi @work and everyone else. I see Mel/Pet are about the lose. Rats. Oh well deserved win I guess.

Posted by sisu 11/23/2010 at 09:07 AM

Oh, forgot it's 10 pt. TB. Now 8/7 D/P. Is there hope for Mel/Pet?

Posted by ladyjulia 11/23/2010 at 09:08 AM

Brad Gilbert is picking Muzz in 3 sets to win.

Posted by jackson 11/23/2010 at 09:08 AM

Ooh, Mel/Pet have drawn even.

Posted by sisu 11/23/2010 at 09:08 AM

8 all, Dlo to serve and misses CC FH. 9/8 Mel/Pet.

Come on! Match point for Mel/Pet.

Yes!!!! They did it!

Posted by jackson 11/23/2010 at 09:08 AM

And Mel/Pet come through and win. Great match!

Posted by Master Ace 11/23/2010 at 09:09 AM

DP = Lukas Dlouhy and Leander Paes
MP = Jurgen Melzer and Philipp Petzschner

Nick Lester and Ashley Fisher doing the commentary

Steve Ulrich is chair umpire

DP to serve 6-7(9),6-4

Lukas to serve
DP 1-0 ??
Jurgen to serve
DP 2-0 Philipp volley wide
DP 3-0 Philipp volley long after Leander return hit the net and bounced over to start point
Leander to serve
DP 4-0 Leander volley winner
DP 4-1 Jurgen CC FH passing shot winner
Philipp to serve
DP 5-1 Lukas return winner into doubles alley
DP 5-2 Leander nets BH return
Lukas to serve
DP 6-2 Stream froze
DP 6-3 Lukas DF
Jurgen to serve
DP 6-4 Lukas nets BH return
DP 7-4 Philipp volley wide cutting off Leander FH
Leander to serve
DP 8-4 Philipp nets volley
DP has 8 DF in match
DP 8-5 Jurgen smash too hot for Lukas
Philipp to serve
DP 8-6 Jurgen smash winner
DP 8-7 Leander FH return long
Lukas to serve
8-all Lukas FH long
MP 9-8 Lukas volley wide
Jurgen to serve
MP wins the match as Philipp hit volley winner down the middle

Melzer/Petzschner defeated Dlouhy/Paes 7-6(9),4-6,10-8

Posted by Tuulia 11/23/2010 at 09:12 AM

"Will this "calm" make him play better or worse?"

It should certainly make him play better - if he manages to keep it going.
(it = calm)

Posted by sisu 11/23/2010 at 09:16 AM

Hi Metro! Just read your 6:41am. So glad you enjoyed your day and was thinking of your earlier remarks when the commentators said the start time of the matches were moved up 45 minutes this year because of last year's commuting problems.

I can't remember how many matches you're going to see but hope you have lots of fun. Thanks for the report on yesterday's events.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/23/2010 at 09:19 AM

I didn't realize that the Muzz has beaten Fed on four consecutive occasions.

It must have been 2009 or something...surely not this year.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/23/2010 at 09:22 AM

Neil Harman on twitter:

Fed qualifies for semis if he bts Murray and Ferrer bts Sod or if he bts AM in 2 and Sod bts Ferrer in 3. Round robins rule

Posted by GB 11/23/2010 at 09:23 AM

Vamos Muzz!

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