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Around the World in 1000 Words 12/07/2010 - 1:57 PM


by Pete Bodo

Mornin'. So, are you still lobbying to create a longer off-season in tennis?

U-Turns Welcome. . .

The year's last "official" ball was struck in Belgrade on Sunday, and another season is in the history books. And what a year it was, with Andy Murray roaring out to such a great start in Melbourne (where he lost the final to Roger Federer—nothing to be ashamed of there, right?), setting in motion a year that could go into the books as the year of the U-turn.

Just think of all the players whose efforts involved a dramatic turnaround—for better or worse—at some point. By the end of 11-plus months, Murray was still without a major, while Slam queen Serena Williams made a U-turn (due to injury) and lost her No. 1 ranking to Slamless Wonder Caroline Wozniacki.

Rafael Nadal had a U-turn going the other way after injury and made history, completing a career Grand Slam. Roger Federer expired and then popped back to life, Ana Ivanovic hit rock bottom and floated, cork-like, back to the surface, Novak Djokovic started weak and finished strong and Michael Llodra played perhaps the best tennis of his life and suffered his most painful loss, all in the course of a month. Among others...

Seeking the "Special" in "Specialist."

One guy I feel for is Nenad Zimonjic, the Serbian Davis Cup doubles specialist. He's one of those guys who just brings a smile to your face if you run into him at the IMG NIck Bollettieri Tennis Academy, and he's by nature and trade a real team player. But Zimonjic has really struggled in the Davis Cup ties I've watched, and it seems to me more than a simple case of Davis Cup heebie-jeebies.

In the confines of their athletic culture, doubles specialists do just fine. They're in a comfort zone, sitting atop a food chain populated mostly by ATP pros moonlighting in the doubles to earn some extra cash and get in some more playing time. But when you plop them in the Davis Cup cauldron, or shake up their pecking order by throwing a few big singles names into the mix, it's like they feel pressured to justify their status—as if they have to prove that they aren't top doubles players merely by default, because so few players focus on doubles and most of the top singles players only dabble in it (at best).

In Belgrade, you could see Zimonjic trying to be assertive, making an effort to demonstrate his leadership, bursting to play in a way that would make him stand out, but not at the expense of his partner or team. And it just wasn't happening. Again. 

That's okay, though, Davis Cup is a team enterprise and Zimonjic was likely just as thrilled with the final result as Djokovic, or the respective semifinal and final round heroes, Janko Tipsarevic and Viktor Troicki. And he had every right to be. So I'd say forget the pressure to justify your reputation as a top doubles player and specialist—just hit the danged ball.

Did You Have to Pay Extra for the Crystals?

File this in the "This has nothing to do with ending world hunger" dossier. Serena Williams's Grand Slam feast may have ended abruptly after the second course in 2010, but we've seen over the years that this is a whimsically inclined lady (remember that bit about using her Grand Slam trophies as baskets to hold her make-up brushes?) with a wicked sense of humor, and a high and flashy sense of style. She's out of action until sometime after the 2011 Australian Open, still recuperating from surgery on her right foot, which is now encased in a cast. But that hasn't impaired her flair.

The New York Post has an item today on the way Serena has decorated the cast on her foot with Swarovski crystals for her walk-through at the "Evenings in Vogue" party in Miami on Saturday night. Check out the picture that runs with this item and tell me if I'm missing something in asking, "What crystals?" In the NYP item, it looks like Serena also got a jump on Christmas, decorating her sunglasses with a string of Christmas lights.

Hope That Thing is Loaded! 

Does it strike anyone else as weird that Robin Soderling has had so much trouble finding a new coach? He recently split with Magnus Norman, a fellow Swede and former French Open finalist who helped Soderling rise to his present high of No. 5 in the ATP rankings. It was an unexpected break-up, given that they'd only been together two years and Soderling's star is still thought to be ascending. You can read the official (and drearily familiar) parting words here.

One of these days, a player is going to fire a coach who's going to say something like, Hector was a lazy sack of crap and I'm not on this planet to make dinner reservations or midnight runs for M&Ms...

Or conversely, a player will say: I got the inkling something was wrong when, two months into our partnership, Carlos asked me if I were right or left-handed...

Since the predictably amicable split, Soderling has been linked to more names than James Blake's buddy John Mayer (although in Soderling's case they're all male). Among those Soderling, 26, has approached: Fredrik Rosengrin, Peter Lundgren, and Thomas Hogstedt, all countrymen of Soderling. Not that it's helped much. All of them begged off, for various reasons including existing coaching arrangements (Lundgren coaches Stanislas Wawrinka and Hogstedt is working with Maria Sharapova).

Now it looks like Soderling has finally settled on Claudio Pistolesi, the Italian former ATP pro who had one of the cleanest, best-looking games aorund during his heyday, even though he never learned to put it to best use. He hit his career-high ranking (No. 71) in 1987. No matter how you cut it, this seems like an odd fit. Up to now, Pistsolesi was best known for being the husband and coach of Anna Smashnova. He also briefly coached Monica Seles, Michael Berrer, Ai Sugiyama, Davide Sanguinetti and Simone Bolelli, none of whom (with the exception of Seles, in an earlier life) were in any way comparable to Soderling in style, talent, or accomplishments.

You have to wonder about the rationale behind this hire, although we all know that having has a big name or a big game doesn't automatically make you a coaching genius. And sometimes journeymen like Pistolesi pop up as first-rate coaches. But Pistolesi has been knocking around for a good long while, so the chance that he's an undiscovered genius is slim.

The one thing I will say for the move is that in his day, Pistolesi was never afraid to pull the trigger. Like Soderling, he took big cuts and played from the baseline. I suppose sticker-price may have had some affect on the hiring process, but that's just a shot in the dark.

Tina You're Killing My Jaro!

News flash: Martina Navratilova and a team of 27, including Olympic Games badminton star Gail Emms, have begun their seven-day climb of the highest mountain in Africa, Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro. Although the mountain rises 19,341 feet above sea level, it isn't technically a difficult climb. Serious mountaineers think of it as a pleasant week-long hike, while you or I might die on a rocky ledge and get our eyeballs pecked out by vultures less than halfway to the top after day two.

The climb is to benefit the Laureus Sport for Good foundation, which...does good. You have to hand it to these folks, they've made a big dent in sports. Hardly a day goes by without someone or other (like Rafa) winning a Laureus award, and their annual awards show/ceremony, a cross between the Cannes Film Festival and the ESPYs, is a glamorous, celebrity-studded affair. I'm not really into that kind of thing, but whatever—the goals are laudable.

Martina plans to hit some tennis balls off the peak of Kilimanjaro, to which I can only say, "Please, Martina, don't..." There's enough garbage up there already, and the very idea is altogether too much like a dog lifting a leg on a fire hydrant. I don't know if Emms plans to whack a few shuttlecocks into the thin air above the talus slopes, but the same goes for her. Save the birdies because the birdies might try to eat them and choke on the indigestible matter.

Otherwise, good luck on the jaunt.

You got 414 words more than I had planned. No extra charge...

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Posted by gauloises 12/09/2010 at 11:41 AM

The ITF and Australian Open have both offered replica trophies to Pete. I know it's not the same at all - but it's still a nice gesture.

Posted by beth 12/09/2010 at 11:44 AM

agreed . gauloises
a very nice gesture
I hope the other organizations follow their lead

Posted by Master Ace 12/09/2010 at 11:45 AM

Just read that about the ITF willing to give a replica to Pete for DC

Posted by manuelsantanafan 12/09/2010 at 12:00 PM


Seemed to me that in the S.Williams match, S.Williams was serving so well and keeping her service games so short, that Vera never had much of a chance to get into a rhythm. A couple of mistakes by Vera in her own service games in each set and the match was essentially over.

The Clijsters match provided more opportunities for Vera. You may be correct that Vera played very tight throughout most of the match, as opposed to some of the match--the latter not being unusual for even champions like Rafa and Federer.

In any case, I'm hoping that Vera can avoid serious injury for the next few years, because I do enjoy watching her all-court game.

Posted by zenggi 12/09/2010 at 12:10 PM

Hey everyone,
In about one and a half hour time, Carlos Moya will play the last match of his career against David Ferrer in Seville. Adieu, Carles!

Posted by Northernboy 12/09/2010 at 12:14 PM

I think for the ATP letdown this year was inevitable as I'm not sure there's EVER been a year like 2009 that saw that many supreme quality matches in a single calendar span - it was just ridiculous.

This year I think the more compelling matches were actually on the women's side. YOu can list two dozen high quality 3 set matches played by the women, but aside from a great start to the year at the Australian Open, the men's matches were limited to Rafa & Fed's near upsets at WImbledon, Rafa's 3 3 set matches with Andy Murray and Djokovic's SF and F runs at the USO. Maybe an argument could be made for Andy Roddick's one win and one loss against Rafa as well. That's about it.

Regardless, with the exception of Nadal and perhaps Clijsters, I don't think any one player is in a position to assert themselves over a particular tour. SHould be interesting nonetheless.

Posted by beth 12/09/2010 at 12:25 PM

I am gonna miss Carlos !
I guess this means the Year of Carlos is finally at an end

if any of the old time TWibers remember what I am talking about :)

Posted by zenggi 12/09/2010 at 12:31 PM

I do, Beth, I do. Le sigh.

Posted by Aube,Loving might be a mistake but it's worth making...Lee Ann Womack!!! 12/09/2010 at 12:48 PM

For 2011 I'm sensing new winners at all four majors.No repeat for no one including Serena and Clijsters...
I do feel though that Vika might grab one if she stays out of health issues,that's just a sense I'm getting!!!
Good luck to Caro though to at least carry her run on the top!!!
For JJ,innnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!!!!!!!!!!,don't see it happen!

Posted by Ruth 12/09/2010 at 01:12 PM

I remember the Year of Carlos, too, beth. And I have a feeling that that match with Ferrer in Seville is definitely not the last tennis match that we'll see Carlos play. He may have played his last official ATP Tour match (no Muster-like return for him, I'd say); but I wouldn't be surprised to see him on the Seniors Tour or in exos in the very near future.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 12/09/2010 at 01:28 PM


You're probably correct about Moya's last match.

Sevilla being an exhibition event, Moya's last ATP or ITF match was Madrid 2010, AFAIK.

Like you say, Moya probably will play some more exos before he dies (perhaps in his country of residence, Switzerland) and/or play on one of the senior tours.

Posted by Tic 12/09/2010 at 01:40 PM

Meanwhile, draw for Abu Dhabi exo (Dec. 30 - Jan. 1) is out:

Marcos Baghdatis will play Tomas Berdych and Robin Soderling will play Jo-Wilfred Tsonga.
Nadal will then play the winner of Baghdatis-Berdych and Federer will play either Soderling or Tsonga. The winners of these 2 matches play in the final.

Posted by Holds2Love 12/09/2010 at 01:49 PM

If anyone still needs an idea for a Xmas gift for Aussiemarg, ;-)

Sad story about Sampras, do hope he recovers his awards and memorabilia.

Also hoping there's a stream for Moya/Ferrer!

Posted by Master Ace 12/09/2010 at 02:09 PM

USA will have a stronger squad for Jim Courier's first DC tie in 2011:

Posted by Holds2Love 12/09/2010 at 02:10 PM

um, would there be a stream for a match like that?

Tic, thanks for that news on the Abu Dhabi draw. Good to see Tsonga will be returning to action soon.

Posted by adicecream 12/09/2010 at 02:13 PM

I will miss Carlos too. He's the tennis player I was closest to -- in physical proximity that is -- one year at the US Open when he was waiting to play on an outer court. After that he was always in my top five, both the tennis and hottest lists.

I too remember year of Carlos. I've been here 4 years, though not always regularly.

Posted by Holds2Love 12/09/2010 at 02:14 PM

Master Ace, thanks for that. In addition to Roddick and the Bryans , who do you think will round out the US squad?

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 12/09/2010 at 02:28 PM

*waves hello*

Arun, I love you for your JJ post on the previous page. :) Reading on Twitter that she's appointed Andrei Pavel to be her coach in 2011? Maybe her moment will be next year. :)

Posted by Master Ace 12/09/2010 at 02:35 PM

Courier will have some decisions to make. The team could consist of Roddick, Fish, Querrey and Isner. Chances are there will be a stream for Abu Dhabi.

Interesting coaching hire for Jelena. However, I will say that winning a Slam has passed her by despite Francesca winning the French at an older age in 2010.

Posted by Holds2Love 12/09/2010 at 02:48 PM

*waves to jewell*

thanks, Master Ace. Hadn't considered that Courier might not go with the Bryan Bros. It will be interesting to see how his coaching differs from PMac's. Roddick must think so, too. sorry, I was wondering if there would be a stream for the Moya/Ferrer exo. I will have Abu Dhabi coverage on SkySports 1. :)

thanks for that info, jewell. not knowing much about Pavel, I did a quick read... wow, he's really not long off the tour at all, so no coaching history, right? makes it kind of a bold choice, no?

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 12/09/2010 at 02:50 PM

I'm going to dream anyway. :)

Who are your picks for the year for each slam, Master Ace?

Posted by Master Ace 12/09/2010 at 02:54 PM

On the ATP, Nadal and/or Federer will win all Slams. In that group, Nadal will repeat his title at the Rafael Nadal Invitational.

WTA(subject to change DAILY):
??? Open - Victoria with Justine or Kim 2nd
Rafael Nadal Invitational - Justine with Caroline 2nd
Williams-Federer Classic - Serena if healthy with Venus a strong 2nd
Moonpie Open or Jersey Girl ?? - Kim with Caroline a strong 2nd

Posted by Larry in the Silicon 12/09/2010 at 02:58 PM

They got good tennis in Serbia. Impressed. I have joined the Djoker Bandwagon and see him doing major damage next year.

Martina does seek publicity. It's a question of 'should someone with a specific set of accomplishments use their platform to advocate a cause.' It will always depend on the 'viewer's' opinion of the cause.

Wozniacki is on the cusp. Don't see her as an underachiever, but I expect that some of her fans may be disappointed in the end if they believe she's going to dominate the game. Win some Majors - yes, but she has the limitations of a counterpuncher.

Nenad Zimonjic has nothing to prove as a world-class doubles player, unless people want to dispute the greatness of the Bryans or Knowles, Nestor, etc. There is no way that Andre Agassi or Rafa Nadal would ever be a better dubs player than those guys, though the net-boys like Pete (and Roger, sort of) might have been.

I feel sorry for Pete and I hope he gets his trophies back.

Posted by JB (FOOPs unite!!!) 12/09/2010 at 03:22 PM

The Year of Carlos is finally over? Sigh. Wasn't that a saturnian year or some such?

i just remember the cairphirhna's and the rhumba line... :)

Still, I'd like to see Carlos on the seniors tour, a very nice addition if you ask me! Which reminds me, I heard a rumour there was to be tennis in beantown this weekend.

*trots off to check*

Posted by JB (FOOPs unite!!!) 12/09/2010 at 03:24 PM

nope. think tennis channel was advertizing repeats.... oh well. i'll stick to getting my tree sat then... :)

Posted by zenggi 12/09/2010 at 03:33 PM

Carlos Moyà lost 6-7, 3-6 to David Ferrer. "See you and thanks", he said to the crowd.
Ferrer will play tomorrow the winner of the match between Albert Montañés and Pablo Andujar.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 12/09/2010 at 04:05 PM

In some not so new tennis news out of Spain, today or tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of Spain's El Tribunal Supremo deciding that Arantxa Sánchez Vicario owed Spain's government around 3.5 million Euros, as a result of Arantxa's scheme to avoid paying Spanish taxes by claiming Andorran residency.

Viva Arantxa!

Posted by Holds2Love 12/09/2010 at 05:39 PM

I see Henin and Clijsters are considering playing doubles in the 2012 Olympics. Didn't see that coming.

Posted by Old Man Fed/Puny Server Rafa Fan 12/09/2010 at 05:44 PM

I am sure someone here have mentioned this, but Rafa and Djoker are playing exo on March 21 next year in Columbia. My only question is this: is this kid crazy?

Money is all good, but what's with all these exo fest? He won't have any off season holiday this year since he was doing media tour last week and had to start practicing this week as he's got 2 exos coming on 21 and 22 before another exo from Dec 30-Jan 1. I think he is trying very hard to make Fed the 1st player ever to re-claim 1st ranking twice. What do you all think of these madness?

Posted by Old Man Fed/Puny Server Rafa Fan 12/09/2010 at 05:45 PM

in case you want the link for the Bogota exo between Rafa-Djoker:

Posted by Old Man Fed/Puny Server Rafa Fan 12/09/2010 at 05:47 PM

Not Columbia, but Colombia at 5:44pm. My bad. And no, they are not playing at the school in NY. ha.

Posted by Arun 12/09/2010 at 05:49 PM

Old Man Fed/Puny Server Rafa Fan: Didn't Fed chose/had to sit through some hearing too?
I guess both Rafa and Fed are trying to make sure they have as short an off-season as possible. :)
I hope they at least don't complain about how short their off-season was.

Posted by Colette 12/09/2010 at 05:49 PM

H2L, good news for Belgium.

Clijsters won the exhibition match she played with Justine today. Nice pics of the match on the Photo Wire.

Posted by Holds2Love 12/09/2010 at 06:10 PM

those are great photos, Colette. Kim with the tweener :)

Posted by Colette 12/09/2010 at 06:14 PM

I know. Loved the tweener - and, how friendly they looked.

Posted by Tic 12/09/2010 at 09:07 PM

After Moya's last match in Seville today (where he lost to Ferrer):

He remained faithful to sleeveless throughout his last few years on tour. However, Del Potro is to appear at AO in this:

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela YEC Doubles Champion and Winner of 7 Titles in 2010) 12/09/2010 at 09:59 PM

Hiya one and all.

Ah! I know! Sampras is so cheap that....he decided that he only needed a trophy room as big as Nalby's refrigerator!

spacie that was funny and I almost spat my tea out.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela YEC Doubles Champion and Winner of 7 Titles in 2010) 12/09/2010 at 10:06 PM

Really like what Elf's is going to wear at the AO tournie. Cannot wait to see him back in action.

Posted by Andrew 12/09/2010 at 10:16 PM

Evening, all.

Watching the Colts vs the Titans: half time, 21-7 Colts. Um, go Colts.

(Tries to think of something tennisy to write). Since 2004, over seven seasons, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have combined for at least 3 of the 4 Major titles in all seven seasons: 4 of 4 three times (2006, 2007 and 2010). The other four titles were won by Gaudio (RG 2004), Safin (AO 2005), Djokovic (AO 2008) and Del Potro (USO 2009).

Of these 4 titleists, only Djokovic (USO 2010) has played in another Major final during this period. Federer and Nadal have eight other final appearances between them.

There's a reason we care about these guys.

Posted by Jason 12/10/2010 at 12:36 AM

Does anyone know who will be carring the Fed/Nadal Expo both in Zurich and Madrid on 12/20 & 21. Tennis Channel was going to carry it live but they have now canceled it.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela YEC Doubles Champion and Winner of 7 Titles in 2010) 12/10/2010 at 12:39 AM

I just don't get why anyone would want to play an exo four days before christmas is beyond me.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 12/10/2010 at 01:26 AM

Morning everyone. :)

Is Rafa practicing specially for the exos? I thought he usually worked hard in the off-season anyway. I don't think two exo matches geographically fairly close together are going to ruin his off-season - the one in Colombia seems daft though.

Thanks Acey! Looking forward to your theme for the AO.

Posted by karin1492 12/10/2010 at 02:05 AM

Jason: If you are in the US, ESPN 2 is going to carry both of the matches. They're either going to be live or on tape delay. I'm not exactly sure which at the moment.

Posted by zenggi 12/10/2010 at 02:15 AM

Good morning,

Do you remember I posted that El Pais is asking for readers to design an advertising campaign for the exho in Madrid on December 22nd?

The proposed ads are getting better every day. Some examples:

"It doesn't matter who win. The important thing is WHY they are going to play"

"Who wins?""

Posted by Inquiring Mind 12/10/2010 at 02:25 AM

zenggi or CL, might you consider using whatever euphemism might be necessary to convey what the Italian mag says? I'm not burning with sufficient curiosity to investigate the source but have to admit it's got me wondering (and ashamed at my tabloidish interest!) what unprintable revelation could have come from this normally discreet guy.

AO outfits: Rafa's red looks good; Fed's yellow/white/gray-green just doesn't seem like a winning combo. Nike was so successful in establishing his 'look' that they seem to have painted him into a corner--there's nowhere left to go, and they'd do well to bring back some of the more athletic/less preppy looks of years past.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 12/10/2010 at 02:31 AM

Hi karin, zenggi & Inquiring Mind! (& welcome, Inquiring Mind, if you're new.)

I WANT A TENNIS BALL DUCK. Thanks, zenggi. :)

Posted by manuelsantanafan 12/10/2010 at 02:38 AM

In the USA, ESPN3 will also be live video-streaming both Rafa-Federer exhibitions.

2 PM TW time on the 21st.

1:00 PM TW time on the 22nd.

Posted by zenggi 12/10/2010 at 02:40 AM

Inquiring Mind,

It's totally unreal because I'm 1000% sure nobody would dare to ask Roger that question and therefore the "presumed answer" is typical of a tabloid press: false, preposterous and funny.

I want to avoid that something invented by an Italian twit will be used ad nauseam as a true statement by other twits during Fedal battles to ridicule Roger.:)

If you want to know mail me:

Posted by zenggi 12/10/2010 at 02:40 AM

And welcome, Inquiring Mind.

Posted by zenggi 12/10/2010 at 02:42 AM

Hi jewell,

Maybe you could ask for it as a present for Christmas. Who knows?

I'm going to get ready for work.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 12/10/2010 at 02:49 AM

You never know. :) "And oh! Father Christmas, if you love me at all, bring me a big, green duck-shaped tennis ball!"

I'd better think about work too...warmer today at least. :)

Posted by gauloises 12/10/2010 at 05:40 AM

I want a tennis ball duck so much! That's awesome.

So who's Andrei Pavel, then? The name's vaguely familiar, but I'm going to be honest: I don't know who he is. Although I suspect JJ more needs someone she can get on with than some technical powerhouse who she won't listen to.

Posted by gauloises 12/10/2010 at 05:53 AM

"More needs"?

Clearly I'm more hungover than previously suspected.

Posted by Mike Romeling 12/10/2010 at 05:54 AM

Well, latest reports indicate Martina has had to abandon the climb. Although there are no technical difficulties in climbing Kilimanjaro, there is no way to predict how individuals will react to the high altitude. Weather was apparently a factor as well.

Posted by gauloises 12/10/2010 at 06:02 AM

Poor Martina - that's embarrassing.

Posted by Ruth 12/10/2010 at 08:32 AM

Well, I can't speak for Martina; she is a proud athlete, and she might be embarrassed. But, as someone who, in her position, would have pulled the plug on a venture that I'd agreed to do in January before I was diagnosed with breast cancer and started to receive treatment for it, I say, "Brava, Martina, for going as far you did!" (And for being smart enough to know when you needed to end your quest.)

Posted by gauloises 12/10/2010 at 08:38 AM

I'm not embarrassed for her, Ruth, but I imagined given her quotes about the project and the level of visibility - 'The Aspen, Colorado resident said she was "petrified" of failing to reach the summit "because then the whole world will know".' - that she would be embarrassed. Careless choice of words, perhaps, but no disrespect intended.

Posted by Ruth 12/10/2010 at 08:52 AM

gauloises: Oh, no, I didn't think that you were ever intending any disrespect to Martina. I realized that you were probably seeing it through her eyes; and, as I said (and her own words indicate), she's a proud soul who could feel embarrassed by having to quit the climb. However, as I was teling my USO buddy just a few minutes ago, Martina might just see and accept this in the same way she saw and accepted her string of first round losses when she dared to return to singles competitive tennis in her late forties! :-)

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 12/10/2010 at 09:02 AM

I sort of vaguely remember Andrei Pavel as a name from when he was playing but that's it.

Sorry Martina had to stop her climb.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 12/10/2010 at 09:19 AM

"When playing Andy Murray in the Australian Open in 2009, Pavel was forced to retire from the game in the second set due to a recurring back injury. He had lost the previous set. Andrei entered the 2009 French Open, where he was defeated by Tommy Haas 6-1, 6-4, 6-4."

Should've remembered those at least, wasn't all that long ago. :)

He won Montreal in 2001 and lost to Henman in a Paris final.

Posted by gauloises 12/10/2010 at 09:24 AM

Understood, Ruth :) I am a headachey, cranky, staff-Christmas-party-to-organise/attend woman today. But to get back to Martina - honestly, if there's anyone for whom a setback is less of a setback, I don't know who. She'll probably be jogging up Kilimanjaro next year.

Oh - thanks jewell. ATP website wouldn't open for me earlier. It was the Murray match that I recalled him from.

Posted by jackson 12/10/2010 at 09:29 AM

Aw, that's too bad that Martina had to abandon her climb. I was reading her daily diaries and she sounded like she was having a tough time and as a few folks have said upthread, she's a proud competitor so I'm sure she doesn't like having to quit before she reaches her goal, but she has to look after her health most of all.

Re: Pete's loss of trophies and memorabilia, I read that much of it is just that - memorabilia - which can't be replaced like a trophy can, and I'll bet it's the little mementos that would have some extra special memories for him. I read that he had saved a whole bunch of magazines that had him on the front covers and newspapers and things like that that are all gone too and which can't be replaced. Such a shame. I hope his going public about it will result in some leads the police can chase down because the thiefs certainly can't do anything with all the stuff.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 12/10/2010 at 09:32 AM

Where are you having the party, Gauly?

I wonder if fans might be able to help Sampras replace some of his stuff - or perhaps magazines might have old copies stored - perhaps even digitally now.

Posted by gauloises 12/10/2010 at 09:36 AM

The nearest Pizza Express (not my decision - I've inherited a long-running tradition). Cheap and cheerful. Or I hope cheerful, anyway. Terribly paranoid nobody will come and it will be my fault - or everyone will come and the free drinks and food will run out by about 9 p.m.

I feel like I should hashtag this #notgoodatmyjob or possibly #offtopic. Too much twitter!

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 12/10/2010 at 09:39 AM

Gosh, I remember when office parties were had in the office and everyone just brought in some Panda cola and a packet of out-of-date beef-flavoured Hula Hoops to fob off on other people, and stood around wearing silly hats and trying to chat over the sound of Shakin' Stevens. Pizza Express seems like a massive improvement! :)

(although I quite like Shaky's Christmas song.)

Posted by jackson 12/10/2010 at 09:40 AM

Some of you may have been aware of the bit of fooferah that went on between Rafa and the Balaeres Islands Tourism Board a few months ago. Rafa was earning two million dollars a year from them until 2011 for the use of his image and him promoting his beloved islands. Good deal for both of them. However, turned out that the Tourism Board is caught up in a bit of a scandal about finances (a part of the economic troubles Spain is having) and they weren't going to pay Rafa for 2011 but they still had a promotional video of him that had been shot last year but it hadn't been unveiled to the public yet. His manager Carlos Costas said they couldn't use it if they weren't prepared to pay Rafa for the use of his image. They had a bunch of meetings and it seems to have been resolved in a manner that's going to make Rafa look good in the end.

He's going to allow them to use his name and his image and in return, the government must put money into projects of his choice on the islands that will help some less fortunate people. Rafa will continue to do his normal promotion of telling everyone how wonderful Mallorca is, and it appears all parties are relatively happy. Good for Rafa for foregoing some pretty big bucks and yet still staying involved and having a say in how his image and persona can be used.

Posted by tina (BRAVO, TIM PEPLJUGA!) 12/10/2010 at 10:02 AM

I don't have time to read four pages of comments - I have to re-make the cookies I burned yesterday - but I'm saddened to learn that Martina has had to make a U-turn on her climb.

Posted by tina (BRAVO, TIM PEPLJUGA!) 12/10/2010 at 10:06 AM

okay, since I'm here: my understanding was that Pete Sampras kept all the slam trophies safely at home, what got stolen was the trophies from all the other tourneys he won. Did I get that wrong?

Posted by Larry in the Silicon 12/10/2010 at 10:19 AM

Andrei Pavel was an excellent Rumanian player, big and strong, with a nice serve and a powerful baseline game. I'm pretty sure he was Top 20 for a while, and may have even crept inside the Top 15. He was stylish.

I don't know why people rag on Sampras endlessly about being cheap. I think it was reported that Pete had contributed 60K or so to Agassi's charity BEFORE Andre went to town on him. He was moving houses and needed a place to store things, I gather, to make his move easier. I've never seen similar remarks about Nadal who wears half-million $ wristwatches for the endorsement money, or Fed, whose entire public persona at times seems one of self-importance and vanity - and I believe Roger is the GOAT. Sampras isn't cool enough for most of the children who post on message boards - that's my sad, honest takeaway. Does he like his personal affluence? Seems so - makes him just like 99% of all wealthy people in the world.

Posted by jackson 12/10/2010 at 10:23 AM

Oh Tic, in your post yesterday at 03:31 PM you said "there was unconfirmed buzz in twittosphere that Rafa had a photoshoot this weekend with Megan Fox for Armani jeans. Nice closing of jeans circle for him."

I wish it was just jeans! Jeans on Rafa look great. But Rafa's going to be:

Advertising / UK

He may not be pants on the tennis court, but the world’s No.1 player will certainly be pants off it after agreeing to be the face of Giorgio Armani’s Underwear and Armani Jeans range.

Nadal succeeds Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo in the stripped down role a decision which is being seen as a bold move in a sector of the fashion industry worth more than £6bn annually.

Nadal’s move from top drawer star to bottom drawer fashion icon follows a tried and tested advertising formula. Sales of Armani’s tight white briefs rose by 10% in Britain following a similar campaign fronted by Beckham.

Those that way inclined must wait till early in the New Year to spy the first snaps of Nadal (and not much else)."
Ay yi yi yi!!!! Have you seen those sprawled out pictures of Beckham and Ronaldo that have been used in previous years ads?????? I don't know if I want my sweet little Rafa used like a piece of meat on the glossy pages!!! I'm quite sure that Rafa will look just fine in brief skivvies.... I mean, his body is certainly beautiful, but ewwwww, this just is giving me the heebie jeebies! At least he'll be paid well for it (I think). What does the bn stand for in £6bn? It can't be 6 billion pounds. O_O

What do you other Rafa fans think about all this? Armani jeans I'd be more than happy with. Armani underwear? I dunno. :(

Couple of pictures (completely unrevealing, thank goodness) of the photo shoot last weekend up on facebook.!/photo.php?fbid=467592786341&set=a.467592011341.245322.18658586341&pid=5750582&id=18658586341

Posted by wilson75 12/10/2010 at 10:25 AM

"Good for Rafa for foregoing some pretty big bucks..."

In the grand scheme of things, Rafa can afford to forego the big bucks from the BITB because he's probably going to get it from somewhere else.

Posted by Colette 12/10/2010 at 10:26 AM

Sorry to hear that Martina had to turn back and hope she's ok now that she's nearer to sea level. I'm sure she's SO disappointed, but, as Ruth said, Brava! I was enjoying reading her blog.

Andrew, upthread, those "domination" stats are pretty startling when you see it spelled out in b&w.

Posted by gauloises 12/10/2010 at 10:28 AM

£6bn = £6 billion

That's not Rafa's fee, though.

Posted by Colette 12/10/2010 at 10:30 AM

Wilson 75, lol. How appropriate your 10:25, given the fact that you probably hadn't read Jackson's 10:23!

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 12/10/2010 at 10:33 AM

Hopefully he won't become like Ronaldo or Beckham in other ways. :)

Posted by wilson75 12/10/2010 at 10:36 AM

Colette: Oh, I know Rafa has been added to the Armani stable of models. This is the first of many mega bucks deals that he's going to sign in the next 6-12 months. I don't blame him though, he's No. 1 in the world and he has to strike while the iron is hot.

Posted by jackson 12/10/2010 at 10:39 AM

So £6 billion would be the cost of Armani's whole advertising campaign including buying up space in the fancy magazines and on tv do you think? I would imagine for something that huge, Rafa would still be compensated pretty handsomely though.

And wilson75, for sure Rafa doesn't NEED the two million from the Tourist Board (as we see he's going to more than make it up by flaunting his 'famoos ass' in Armanis, but still, he had a legitimate contract with the Tourist Board and he could have played hardball and said either pay me what you owe me or take my face off all your promotional material. I think that's darned accommodating of him to work out a deal where he helps out the tourist board plus turns it into a feel good story that helps out the disadvantaged on his beloved island. Rafa's a good guy.

Posted by wilson75 12/10/2010 at 10:45 AM

jackson: I'm not disputing that Rafa's a good guy. Playing hardball over a small contract wouldn't look good and I don't think he would do that anyway. I'm just saying that you have to look at the bigger picture, the BITB deal is a drop in the bucket when compared to the other major deals he will be making.

Posted by gauloises 12/10/2010 at 10:49 AM

I'm pretty sure the £6 billion refers to Armani's annual worth, doesn't it?

Posted by jackson 12/10/2010 at 10:49 AM

wilson75 at 10:36 AM "Oh, I know Rafa has been added to the Armani stable of models. This is the first of many mega bucks deals that he's going to sign in the next 6-12 months. I don't blame him though, he's No. 1 in the world and he has to strike while the iron is hot."

Agreed, and that window of opportunity can close up very quickly so he has to, as you say, strike while the iron is hot. It's worrisome though. These guys have to be in prime condition to handle the extreme rigors of being a top player on the tour, plus they have to have some down time to rest their bodies and minds and souls after some of those particularly grueling and intensive periods around slams. It's a delicate balance they have to keep although there are millions of people around the world who would love to have those problems. Rafa's a pretty level headed guy though and the team around him seems very efficient so hopefully they all know what they're doing and they'll all make wise decisions.

Posted by Ruth 12/10/2010 at 10:51 AM

tina: I think that one AO trophy was at the storage comany, and the folks at the AO have offered to replace it. The other items were trophies from other tourneys as well as miscellanoeous career memorabilia.

LitS: I, too, was a bit bafled by the questioning of Pete's decision to place his items in a storage facility and the suggestion that there was something ""cheap about his doing so. One of the first things that an annoying, but knowledgeable, realtor tells his/her client who is putting a house on the market is to de-clutter (as they rudely call it) by removing most personal items (even family pictures etc). If you don't have enough unused closet or other storage space in your house, you have to store your stuff elsewhere -- like in a licensed and supposedly secure storage facility.

My realtor in Philly gave me the names of three storage companies that she recommended, and she told me that I should try to negotiate a price with one of them, as she had done a few year ago when she had moved. Why would I have to negotiate:)? thought I. How much could it cost? Well, I learned soon enough.

Luckily, since my house had more closet space that I'd ever needed or used and since I was planning to move to my new place whether my house was sold immediately or not, I, unlike Pete, was able to be "cheap" and avoid the storage facility expense by storing most of my stuff temporarily in the unused closet space and the almost empty crawl space.

Posted by jackson 12/10/2010 at 10:56 AM

gauloises at 10:49 AM "I'm pretty sure the £6 billion refers to Armani's annual worth, doesn't it?"

I don't think so gauloises. I went back to that article and reread it. It says: "Nadal succeeds Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo in the stripped down role a decision which is being seen as a bold move in a sector of the fashion industry worth more than £6bn annually."

It says that [the underwear] sector is worth more than £6bn annually, so I'm thinking that the value of men's underwear that's sold in a year? I don't know. I just really spitballing here because I know nothing about the fashion industry and even less about men's underwear. :D

Posted by Sherlock 12/10/2010 at 10:59 AM

I used to love watching Andrei Pavel play. Quite the personality. He could be, um, quite emotional on court at times. :)

Posted by wilson75 12/10/2010 at 11:00 AM

jackson: I don't think you have to worry about Rafa not getting enough rest. It's not like he's shooting a movie or something and the more time you spend on a shoot the larger the costs will be so they always try to do them as quickly as possible. I say good for him, he's not going to play tennis forever so he has to make deals that will ensure that he will have a comfortable life after tennis as well as make money for his foundation.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 12/10/2010 at 11:01 AM

Cheers Sherly - and Larry, for the previous info. :)

"Quite the personality" sounds like it might suit JJ...*travels hopefully*

Posted by jackson 12/10/2010 at 11:03 AM

Ruth, that's the sense that I got too from reading various stories on Pete's troubles. He said they were moving from Thousand Oaks to another city and it's very true that his realtor very likely told him to depersonalize his house. Storage lockers are a thriving business for situations exactly like that and any reputable one has good security, or is supposed to.

It's the memorabilia that I feel most badly for. I'm sure after such a long career he got a lot of gifts from fans and other people and other special mementos for breaking records and special acknowledgements of all his achievements. Trophies are easy to replace. The personalized stuff isn't. It's all such a senseless crime because the perpetrators won't be able to do anything with the stuff and yet it has so much personal meaning for Pete.

Posted by gauloises 12/10/2010 at 11:06 AM

jackson - yep, that makes the most sense.

Sherlock - oh really? Was he a Pico-style pleader, a Koellerer-style insulter, a Hanescu-style spitter, a Koubek-style choker or just your basic weeper?

Posted by Colette 12/10/2010 at 11:06 AM

Is my dear Rafa the right choice as spokesa*s for underwear? Hmmmm ... as someone for whom the main criteria for underwear is that it doesn't ride up (ie, no shall-we-say "tugging" needed), I'm not so sure :)

Posted by tina (BRAVO, TIM PEPLJUGA!) 12/10/2010 at 11:09 AM

Oh, I see - one AO trophy with all the other non-slam trophies. Well, I had stuff in a storage unit in L.A. for years. Even when I couldn't get out there myself, I had my brother check on it from time to time. No trophies, mind - but some small artworks and tons of priceless personal memorabilia. And as an East Hampton estate manager years back, part of my job was to check the storage in the off-season; do he and his wife really run their own household with no outside help?

But yeah, his storage place must have cameras and theft insurance, if Sampras wasn't carrying his own blanket theft insurance.

Nevertheless, even in SoCal, cars are recovered more often than you might think. It's not like anybody is going to fence Pete's stuff.

Posted by jackson 12/10/2010 at 11:15 AM

Yeah, I agree with you Wilson but I've long felt that it's not necessarily the physical challenges that are the toughest for these guys, it's the mental. And this coming year of 2011 is going to present the stiffest challenges for him yet I think, starting right out of the hopper. The media is going to be going nuts at the AO with all the questions and expectations of if he can win a Rafa slam.

If he doesn't win AO, it's still going to be immense as to whether he can repeat his unbelievable clay season, and then the French and Wimbledon. If he doesn't, the hew and cry will go up about what's wrong with Rafa? If he does happen to win AO, then can you imagine the pressure on him for RG and W? And if he repeats at those, then the USO? Ay, my head hurts just thinking about the pressure he'd be under.

So to be adding money making deals to that stew in 2011 is just more pressure that he's not going to need. But as you say, he has to do it now while he's hot. Good thing he's young and healthy and fit. Just a fraction of all he's got on his plate would kill an old fart like me!

Posted by Sherlock 12/10/2010 at 11:16 AM

Gaul, maybe a smorgasbord of all of the above? :)

From what I remember, he could be fiery on court, but also was quick with a wink, a smile, or a smart-ass remark. More likely to hit a bad shot and give a "What the hell was that?" to himself, rather than blame a linesman, etc.

Posted by wilson75 12/10/2010 at 11:19 AM

From reading the Sampras story, it sounds to me that the 51 trophies were not displayed at anytime in his house as he said he wanted his children to see them someday, so they were probably in his basement or attic. Plus, it seems that he was not responsible for selecting or putting those trophies in the public facility because he said he thought there was security at the storage place. Obviously he had somebody else do it for him.

Posted by Or 12/10/2010 at 11:20 AM

Ruth - I hazzard a guess that between your bank acount and Pete's there's a several dozens (hundreds?) millions difference. I confess, I don't know much about storage facilities, my storage facility is my old bedroom at my parents house, but I imagine the incredibly rich has some other alternatives available.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 12/10/2010 at 11:24 AM

Pfft, having someone else do it for him just means he's out of touch as well as cheap.


Posted by wilson75 12/10/2010 at 11:26 AM

jackson: I don't think that 2011, is going to be any different from the other years since Rafa won his first slam. It would seem so because there will be more media attention. He even said do himself. Considering he spends a lot of time on the tennis court as it is, I'm sure doing work for his sponsors is not as strenuous as you think. He probably likes doing something different sometimes.

Posted by jackson 12/10/2010 at 11:26 AM

Colette at 11:06 AM "Is my dear Rafa the right choice as spokesa*s for underwear? Hmmmm ... as someone for whom the main criteria for underwear is that it doesn't ride up (ie, no shall-we-say "tugging" needed), I'm not so sure :)"

LOL Colette. He does have a bunching problem with underwear on that 'famoos ass' of his! With Carlos Moya's retirement, there were a number of videos of Carlos with Rafa at 11 and 14 and in all of them, he was pulling at his shorts before he went out on court although he wasn't doing it on the court yet.

Last weekend on a Rafa board, for old time's sake we looked through a few videos of Spain winning the DC last year and laughed at how emphatically and energetically Rafa got involved with cheerleading for his teammates and man, he had a lot of bunching going on! He was so busy applauding and vamosing his guys that he didn't have time to fix his wedgies so there were a lot of pictures of them. It honestly must be his anatomy that just makes those shorts go there!

Posted by Texastennis 12/10/2010 at 11:29 AM

Many people have pointed out Pete is cheap - including Bodo himself and Pat McEnroe in his book. I don't think there's any doubt about it:-) Did anyone see the top ten list Cronin posted about this earlier in the week?

The whole storage unit deal seems weird to me on several levels, not necessarily to do with that one - Ruth, I agree of course on the real estate advice being to depersonalize your house, but they are moving mansion to mansion - presumably with crews of professional movers etc. I would have thought they have a lot more options on that front than most of us do. Plus I think anyone would tell you, no matter what security a storage unit claims to have, not to put anything you really value in there because there are so many break ins - and I believe the storage unit contracts usually explicitly say they are not responsible for individual losses as losing as long as their usual security was in place.

And the stuff isn't insured? Who doesn't have their stuff insured? Insert cheap joke here:-)

I agree on the sentimental value of items being a different issue too of course, but I don't know how much value he really attaches to most of the trophies he had in there - does he really care about a trophy of from some tournament in the middle of who knows where from years ago when he has 14 of the GS ones?

Most important about all of this is that he only lost the one GS one and will get a quick replacement for it. Also getting replacement for the Davis cup ones.

They seem to have moved a lot - multiple times. Maybe that's a kind of hobby for Bridget. I have a couple of girlfriends who are like that - no sooner buy something and set it up than they move on, no matter how nice.

LOL about Rafa and the Armani underwear deal. Collete, I love that about is someone who's underwear never seems to fit the right person! Perhaps this new underwear will fix that particular issue:-) Is he going to get some tatoos to go with that a la Beckham or are we going to get some Verdasco type posing there?

Posted by Colette 12/10/2010 at 11:31 AM

jackson, I think it's partly just a "habit." Kinda' like Andy R always adjusting his shirt sleeve. One of those tics that you feel like you still have to do it, even when not necessary. OMG, can't believe I just spent three lines writing about this!

Posted by wilson75 12/10/2010 at 11:34 AM

Here's what Pete said on the ATP website:

Posted by jackson 12/10/2010 at 11:37 AM

Oh I agree Colette. All the players have tics or habits of some sort. Rafa's is just one of the most unusual tics in the tennis world. And it's obvious he does it under pressure because he can serve for hours on the practice court and do it only once in awhile. But hey, if that's what it takes for him to settle into his routine and get ready to play his amazing tennis, it's all ok by me. :)

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