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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 CL 12/10/2010 at 11:39 AM

Hey Peeps - Listen up...In the Dept. of Shameless Self Promotion, I want everyone to know that I am a collaborator in tonight's Deuce Club. Be there are be square. Or oblong-ish. Or tapezoidal. Or a parallelogram ...or something. But do check it out and bring links (not the sausage kind) - and that is the only hint you are getting.

Posted by Arun 12/10/2010 at 11:46 AM

Larry in the Silicon: Good post at 10:19.
It's amazing how cute some are being in bringing up the cheap joke here and elsewhere - because I'm sure they really know how to guard Pete's trophies than Pete himself is capable of. :)

Posted by Sherlock 12/10/2010 at 11:50 AM

CL, lol. I'm going for the parallelogram. :)

Sounds like a fun DC ahead. Though I'm a bit miffed that you had to bring up sausage links as I sit here starving on a Friday morning. :)

Posted by beth 12/10/2010 at 11:53 AM

when I saw the Rafa as underwear model , it did give me pause . I mean - he has done an awful lot to attract attention to underwear over his career . Both in good ( as in great butt ) and bad ( as in quit picking ) . So maybe some enterprising young marketer finally thought to put all that attention to good use
Their slogan can be - We actually FIT the famous a**

As for more about Pete and his storage facility - I doubt that just because Pete is wealthy that he has a better variety of storage option to use . A storage facility is what it is . Usually in lower value real estate - because who wants to clutter up high end properties with little storage bins. The only variation , I would assume , would be the amount and quality of security provided by the company . And it does sound like he really did not know much about the facility itself - some staffer probably made the choice . He does seem to move quite a bit - but on the local news , he mentioned they were doing an extensive remodel - not actually moving , so the personal items were being stored while the remodel was underway. And , frankly - he has moved from Palos Verdes to Beverly Hills to Thousand Oaks - none of which are exactly "cheap" .

Posted by gauloises 12/10/2010 at 11:54 AM

"One of those tics that you feel like you still have to do it, even when not necessary."

Mine is smoking.

Posted by Texastennis 12/10/2010 at 12:00 PM

Still musing about Rafa as underwear model too - those celebrity underwear ads are pretty racy these days ... I first thought that doesn't seem quite his style to say the least (I'm too old but think he might be considered handsome but not really sexy.... but perhaps too old is the key there). Then I remembered the Shakira video and perhaps his brand managers are wanting to move to a more mature positioning now he's definitely not a teen as it were.
Beth - you should offer to sell Armani that copy line:-)

Posted by Holds2Love 12/10/2010 at 12:00 PM

CL & Sherlock, lol, I think I have no choice but to be pear-shaped. ;-) Meeting some friends at the pub in a bit, but will hopefully join you in the DC later. Intrigued re the shape of things to come...

Posted by beth 12/10/2010 at 12:16 PM

Texastennis - I had better get a patent right away !
because I would be willing to bet someone else has thought of it and could beat me to it :)

Posted by CL 12/10/2010 at 12:18 PM

beth - huge chapeau tip- unfreakingly brilliant.

***send sausage pattie Sherlock's way***

Posted by CL 12/10/2010 at 12:23 PM

Sherlock - BTW - my one and only experience in putting together 'furniture from a box' was shelving - and it truly did end up as a parallelogram. Honestly - took real 'talent' on my part...I mean it was SHELVES for heaven's sake! Vertical and horizontal lines...until they weren't. I blamed it on the uneven flooring of the apartment. And still do.

Posted by CL 12/10/2010 at 12:56 PM

Did I break typepad? ****tap, tap**** is this thing on? Anyone else here?

I'm not going to be in a to the gym...

Posted by Sherlock 12/10/2010 at 01:02 PM

He he, CL. I ran to get some breakfast. And it's all your fault. :)

Though that reminds me of Johnny Carson grabbing the microphone with an "Attention, K-Mart shoppers..." once in a while when a joke totally flopped. :)

Posted by CL 12/10/2010 at 01:07 PM

Sherlock - glad you got a bite.

Carson was almost never so funny was when a gag..especially in the monologue flopped...his particular version of 'flop sweat' was hilarious.

Wait - I have to see if I can find something...

Posted by CL 12/10/2010 at 01:11 PM

Sherlock - This is only tangental to Carson, but is an excellent read when you get a sec. Full of stuff I had mostly forgotten about....and unusual for New Yorker can read the whole thing on line. Yay!!

Really off now...

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 12/10/2010 at 01:53 PM

CL: see you later at the deuce...can't wait.

beth: i'm not sure about this underwear model thing. Does he want to be a sex symbol? Jeans, sure.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 12/10/2010 at 01:56 PM

I just read on FD that Martina has had to abandon her climb at 14,000 feet. She was suffering from high altitude sickness, pulmonary edema. She's in the hospital and is expected to fully recover. So sorry it didn't work out. Get better soon, Martina!

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 12/10/2010 at 02:07 PM

Will be late but definitely there, CL. Although I am always square anyway. :)

Posted by Alexis 12/10/2010 at 02:19 PM

Just read about Nadal being the underwear guy for Armani. Personally I find it 'fitting' since he grabs his underwear/picks his butt every point anyway. Who better to show off underwear? Of course, I can only imagine the teasing he is going to get in the locker room!

Posted by Queeny 12/10/2010 at 02:23 PM

Honestly all I envision when I hear Nadal and underwear is his on court "habit". Sorry but there is nothing sexy about that.

What are they thinking!!!!!!!!

Posted by @work 12/10/2010 at 02:32 PM

I think someone was asking about the broadcasting of the exhos.
As per tvguide ESPN2 will carry both live:
21 Dec 2pm
22 Dec 1pm

Posted by Ruth 12/10/2010 at 02:35 PM

Or: Just read your 11:20, and I think that you may have missed my point -- or, perhaps, you made my point with your comment. "Cheap" would have been Pete's asking his sister Stella to keep his stuff in her basement or asking his brother to keep it in his garage.:) He didn't. Instead, he did what thousands of other people, rich or otherwise, do -- went to a storage company and paid them to hold his stuff.

Are people suggesting that Pete should have built his own personal storage house or museum on his property to store his trophies etc? Now, that would have inspired some interesting tabloid stories. What are these more appropriate alternatives to commercial storage companies to which some people are alluding? Please enlighten me.

Rafa has been pulling at his shorts or pants, not his underwear, since he was a kid. Would be nice if he could stop, but that seems an impossible do for him. I laughed when I saw him pulling at his pants using his right hand which was adorned with the half a million dollar watch. I wondered what the watch makers/sellers thought about that. And, now, I can't imagine why an underwear company wants him to advertise their product when so many people think that he's regularly adjusting his underwear.

But I gues that's why I'm not in the adertising business.

Posted by Texastennis 12/10/2010 at 03:02 PM

"I laughed when I saw him pulling at his pants using his right hand which was adorned with the half a million dollar watch."

LOL. Perhaps the two companies could get together to work on reducing that tic.

Posted by Andrew 12/10/2010 at 03:54 PM

Before Sylvia, Cathleen and I moved to Calgary, we put about one-third of our "stuff" in storage. I learned that you can do without a lot of "stuff." The container was secured by a pretty hefty lock which we bought ourselves: I'm sure that a professional group of villains could have gotten in fairly easily, but it would deter an opportunistic light-fingered sort.

Had the stuff got nicked, I'd have mourned some of it, but (like Sampras) it would have been more for sentimental reasons than value. I really sympathize with the Sampras family - I'm sure it wasn't just his stuff.

On a sorta related subject, here's a pretty interesting discussion of an ethical "problem."

When my daughter's cell phone was stolen about a year ago, it led to quite an interesting adventure....

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 12/10/2010 at 03:57 PM

They could do a very funny shot of him tugging at his armani's. well, maybe not. that really would defeat the whole purpose.

Posted by Colette 12/10/2010 at 04:11 PM

How about "Make YOUR Rear Admirable" for a marketing slogan

Posted by CL 12/10/2010 at 04:29 PM

Colette - too much of an 'in joke' methinks...though so it beth's in away. I think what the ad agency could do is put together a montage of Rafa going through his butt picking routine...and label it 'before' and then show a montage of him NOT doing it, (maybe they could use 'a stunt double,';-)), and label it 'After Armani' and the tag could be, "Armani, the Brand the Really Fits."

Posted by Kombo 12/10/2010 at 04:55 PM

Slogan #2: "Itchy n Scratchy."

Posted by CL 12/10/2010 at 05:00 PM

Kombo - Itchy & Scratchy sound like they were cut from the cast of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves." The original title was obviously, "Snow White and the NINE Dwarves." Hollywood can be so cruel.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 12/10/2010 at 05:09 PM

Bernie Sanders


A shame that Maine no longer has Senators like Margaret Chase Smith, Muskie, and Cohen to support him.

Posted by Grant 12/10/2010 at 05:12 PM

Armani: What Champions Pick

Posted by sblily (Wheeeeeeeeeee!/We gonna see, no?) 12/10/2010 at 05:13 PM

^^^ LOLOLOLOLOL. I bow to you, Grant!

Posted by CL 12/10/2010 at 05:14 PM

msf - ??

Grant - lol!

Posted by sf 12/10/2010 at 05:19 PM

i have said it before, and i will say it again:

rafa's biggest problem as world #1 is his butt-picking. it is unbecoming an adult (almost like thumb-sucking).

if armani doesn't want nasty slogans accompanying this venture, they better find a way to "help" rafa overcome that habit.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 12/10/2010 at 05:19 PM

Sanders has been going 6 plus hours on the Senate floor and making primo sense.

Most of the clowns in that body and the House can't go two minutes without spouting nonsense and/or fabrications.

Go Bernie, Go.

Posted by CL 12/10/2010 at 05:20 PM

msf - nevermind...found the Bernie Hour after Hour. Bernie - From Brooklyn. An actual socialist. Mayor of Burlington. As a socialist. Got elected to the House by supporting Gun Rights. Now Ind. Sen. cacuses with the Dems. Currently causing CSpan servers to crash. jeejee

Maine and Vermont and New Hampshire - rock/paper/scissors.

Posted by CL 12/10/2010 at 05:25 PM

Miz Jackie reports a slight delay in the Deuce Club...everyone go watch Bernie! Or grab a GE and THEN watch Bernie...or grab a GE and join thumb twiddlers anonymous...

Posted by Diane 12/10/2010 at 05:32 PM

CL and Jackie

As usual will not make DC as we are off to dinner in Atlanta and then to the Alliance Theater for "A Christmas Carol".

Posted by Sherlock 12/10/2010 at 05:34 PM

Unbecoming an adult? Can one get court-martialed for that?

Posted by Grant 12/10/2010 at 05:37 PM

"Unbecoming an adult?"

like a reverse bar mitzvah

Posted by zenggi 12/10/2010 at 05:39 PM

What are you doing, sf?

All my carefully staged PR campaign for nothing. Thank you very much!

Posted by CL 12/10/2010 at 05:43 PM

Sherlock - yes...they come and rip up your "I can eat pizza anytime I want" card. But the (sort of) upside is, that once again, you can understand R&R music...

Posted by Texastennis 12/10/2010 at 05:43 PM

Grant - lol. You guys are too funny today.

And for that reason, it does make you wonder whether the Armani team actually know about Rafa's little habit? Sometimes these marketing teams seem strangely obvlious...

Posted by Diane 12/10/2010 at 05:48 PM


If you log on to DC, sorry I missed you and I need to say "sorry" for not calling you. My life lately has been in high gear and yes that sounds like a bad excuse so hopefully I will get to call you this weekend!

Posted by Sherlock 12/10/2010 at 05:55 PM

CL, he he. :)

Btw, that article on late night television was fascinating.

Grant, well done. :)

Posted by sf 12/10/2010 at 05:58 PM


best solution is to help rafa! overcome his "disability."


i am being bad, zenggi, staying away from home as much as possible. work starts for me on monday, so whether i like it or not, i'll be making the 9hr drive home this weekend.

what pr campaign have you been waging, btw? do i need to go burrow in old posts to find out?

Posted by zenggi 12/10/2010 at 06:12 PM

You are dead to me. Do I have to explain to sf what sf means? Do I have to start from scratch a new PR campaign for the Viking Dimpled Warrior?
Use your hardware instead of hanging out with friends. And drive safe home.

Posted by Nam1 12/10/2010 at 06:30 PM

Rafa in Armani underwear? maybe they can get him a pair that fit?

Honestly I dont think the Armani marketing execs can have watched him play, no one in their right brain would pick (er..choose) Rafa to advertise underwear.

What can his team be thinking?

Posted by sf 12/10/2010 at 06:37 PM

oh my. i'm in big trouble now - mama mia is ticked off! ;)

how can i make it up to you, zenggi.

Posted by beth 12/10/2010 at 06:39 PM

I still think the Armani marketers have seen Rafa play

and they want the world to know that their underwear would fit him properly - unlike that brand that he is wearing now

of course, that means they need to "cure " the habit

Grant - your slogan is priceless !!!
you rule

Posted by Grant 12/10/2010 at 06:41 PM

"no one in their right brain would pick (er..choose) Rafa to advertise underwear"

How to be a celebrity underwear spokesman/model in three easy steps:
1. be a celebrity
2. look good in underwear
3. learn how to deposit cheques

the fact that a relatively small percentage of people will laugh every time they see the ad isn't a big deal

Posted by CL 12/10/2010 at 06:47 PM

Grant- you forget about youtube. Official Armani Ad x Rafa's 'pick. I see some great video mash-ups ahead. Of course, Armani may see it all as 'any publicity is good publicity.'

Posted by Jackie 12/10/2010 at 06:59 PM

DC will be up in, like, 10 minutes. SORRY, CL!

Posted by zenggi 12/10/2010 at 07:00 PM

You are in big trouble, young man!
First: send a message once you've arrived home.
Second: Follow this instructions:
Third: As Sod's friend, you'll follow the Boy Scout Law ("A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and above all reverent of the number 1 player.")
That's all. And I still want that you drive home safely.

Posted by zenggi 12/10/2010 at 07:04 PM

CL and Jackie,
I'm fading like a rose. 10 minutes seems so long as time measure.

Posted by Master Ace 12/10/2010 at 07:14 PM

Since DC is not up, spill the "beans" on the topic.

Posted by Jackie 12/10/2010 at 07:17 PM


Posted by Jackie 12/10/2010 at 07:18 PM

Okay, so 17 minutes instead of 10. Whoops. ;)

Posted by CL 12/10/2010 at 07:19 PM

Master Ace - no deal...its a secret 'identity' DC.

***contemplates mass disappointment**

zenggi - go to bed! DC will still be here in the AM and I don't want to be responsible for anything you might do because of lack of REM sleep..

Jackie- the publishing industry is tough, no?

Everyone - just drift away and come back when you can. Well fortified with a GE.

Posted by Joe 12/10/2010 at 07:29 PM

Well, it looks better "butt picking" habit than "b.... picking" like Roddick

Posted by Master Ace 12/10/2010 at 07:43 PM

Jackie has posted the Deuce Club with CL's surprise...

Posted by Tim ('Hearing voices' and seeing Moonpies!) 12/11/2010 at 02:58 PM

im waiting for pete to write a whole post making fun of Rafa making millions posing in his undies... can you imagine if Fred did the same?

does Armani know they will now be known as the undies that ride up your butt brand? LOL!

stop pickin your Armani's Rafa!

Posted by Tim ('Hearing voices' and seeing Moonpies!) 12/11/2010 at 03:30 PM

um, the real question is, as was the case with Beckham, will his um er 'package' be ... helped along, digitally or otherwise?

and clearly no Armani execs have ever watched Nads play tennis, he's as famous for pickin his bum as he is for his bum!

Posted by jabeau 12/11/2010 at 05:08 PM

"the fact that a relatively small percentage of people will laugh every time they see the ad isn't a big deal"

Rafael couldn't care less... he is laughing all the way to the bank.

Posted by josh 12/11/2010 at 07:43 PM

I love Caro and hope she wins a slam next year! One of the things I like about her is she is not phony and is down to earth unlike Maria Sharapova!

Posted by josh 12/11/2010 at 07:59 PM

I am not a fan of Martina N. but she deserves all of the attention she is now getting after she was virtually black balled in her earlier tennis career because she is gay. As far as her Caro bashing she needs to stop it!

Posted by josh 12/11/2010 at 08:02 PM

If the WTA home page can push every selling event that Sharapova has why shouldn't Serena get a little bit of free publicity by her fans?

Posted by zacharythelab 12/11/2010 at 10:01 PM

If the trophies mattered so much why can't Pete Sampras offer a reward? that is his best chance to get his things back. Andre A. accused him of being cheap and the fact is that weeks after the theft, the only attempt he has made is to "publicize the theft" and not offer a reward confirms the accusation is in fact , the truth. I cannot understand why he doen't have a giant trophy room in his home so everyone can enjoy his awards. I hope that the storage facility carries insurance so that he can make duplicates of his lost trophies, rings, and treasures.

Posted by Tennis RIP 12/11/2010 at 11:37 PM

Seriously, folks, look at the picture of Nadal shirtless on "the daily spin'' and then look at the picture of him when you click on the actual article. Then tell me his physique does not fluctuate hugely throughout the year.

Posted by Nam1 12/13/2010 at 02:09 PM

"Then tell me his physique does not fluctuate hugely throughout the year. "

Ok, I will, His physique does not fluctuate hugely throughout the year!!

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