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Tipsy on the Cusp 12/01/2010 - 2:13 PM

Tipsy

by Pete Bodo

Novak Djokovic put it best in London, while trying not to think too much about this week's Davis Cup final as he played out his regular-season string at the World Tour Finals. He said that the Davis Cup finals were a preoccupation because he didn't honestly know when he, or Serbia, might get to that stage of the competition again.

I suppose most players, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal excepted, can say the same thing when they compete in a run-of-the-mill major at any of the four corners of the tennis universe. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Tomas Berdych might back Djokovic up, each of them having reached one major final. But even more than at a Grand Slam, reaching the final round in Davis Cup involves a certain amount of serendipity. The alternating choice-of-ground rule, along with the fact that nobody can win a Davis Cup single-handedly (although some have come pretty danged close) ensure that your Davis Cup fate is never entirely in your own hands.

In any given year, a team may be able to play all of it ties at home; this year, Djokovic's Serbian squad played two of its three ties in the cozy confines of the Belgrade Arena, before a crowd already famous for its wildly patriotic, partisan tendencies. The one tie to which the Serbs had to travel was contested in Croatia—and let's remember that, all politics aside, it wasn't so long ago that the two nations were joined as one, at least in theory and on the world map, as the nation formerly known as Yugoslavia. It's unlikely that the Serbs felt like innocents abroad when they moseyed down the trail to Split in the quarterfinals and laid a beating on Ivan Ljubicic, Marin Cilic and company. Basically, the Serbs reached the final without having to leave home, and that helped their effort immensely.

The other issue—the fact that it takes at least two to secure a Davis Cup title—is a little trickier, and it may be the key to the upcoming final. When you have a towering star—a Federer, Nadal, or Djokovic—somebody else, preferably a singles player, has to find a way to add a win. It isn't as big an assignment as it may appear, because very few nations, at very few times in history, have two world-beater singles players. So even guys like Stan Wawrinka, Fernando Verdasco, Ljubicic, James Blake or Michael Llodra don't have to beat the other team's top player. But it helps the cause tremendously if they can beat the other team's No. 2.

Serbia's No. 2 in singles is going to be either Viktor Troicki or Janko Tipsarevic. On paper, you'd have to go with Troicki, because at No. 30 he's ranked 19 places higher than Tipsarevic. But Tipsarevic is an impressive 32-12 in Davis Cup play (25-10 in singles), and he's won the last four Davis Cup rubbers in which he played (including back-to-back semifinal singles wins over Radek Stepanek and Tomas Berdych). The last three guys to beat Tipsy in Davis Cup singles were Nadal, Lleyton Hewitt and Roger Federer, which takes us all the way back to 2006. Tipsarevic seems to be one of those players who steps up instead of freezes up in Davis Cup, and with the home crowd as a propellant and most eyes and hopes firmly tacked on Djokovic, he's even more likely to craft a hero moment.

Troicki, by contrast, is a tepid 7-6 in Davis Cup, and just 5-5 in singles. He lost the last two singles matches he played, against Cilic and Stepanek. So forget what the rankings suggest, Tipsarevic has built up an impressive head of Davis Cup steam, while Troicki has been pulling slowly on an uphill grade. But Troicki skipped the recent Paris Masters in order to prepare for Davis Cup, and the newlywed Tipsarevic cut short his honeymoon in order to focus on the upcoming tie. You can bet that both of them are staring at Bogdan Obradovic with hungry Labrador retriver puppy eyes as the practice sessions wind down.

Beyond that, Tipsarevic is 2-2 against French No. 1 Gael Monfils, and 1-0 against Michael Llodra, the possible No. 2. Troicki has no H2H stats with either man. Granted, Troicki was the surprise winner at the Kremlin Cup event in late October, on a surface very similar to the one chosen for the final by the Serbs. But it would seem foolhardy to me to put Troicki out there against a pair of players like Monfils and Llodra. And not least because each of them is a stylist, a little different from the typical baseline bangers who prowl the tour these days. Llodra is an aggressive, old school, frequent flyer to the net. Monfils thrives on playing defense and counter-punching with a degree of athleticism rare even on the ATP tour.

You don't really want to have a lot of on-the-job training in a Davis Cup final; by the time you get a feel for how the other guy hits the ball, and what he does or doesn't like, it could be over.

Pete Sampras once told me that one reason he never came back to take a wild card at Wimbledon after he retired was because he knew he'd have to play a number of pros against with whom he had no previous history. He hated that, and I imagine most other players do as well. Besides, who needs that kind of pressure when playing in your first Davis Cup final?  While the Serbs insist they haven't made a final decision, I think Obradovic is just trying to keep the French guessing. The only way I can see Obradovic selecting Troicki is if he's really beating up on Tipsarevic in the practice sessions. Those episodes, which have been going on all week, often have a much greater impact on final nominations that all the collected data.

In any event, Obradovic also needs a good doubles partner for Nenad Zimonjic, who got a little tight in his last Davis Cup appearance. He was partnered with Djokovic in the doubles against the Czech Republic, facing Berdych and Stepanek, and seemed overwhelmed by the occasion. He may be better off playing with a Troicki or Tipsarevic (with whom he beat the team of Cilic and Ivan Dodig in the quarterfinal round, his penultimate appearance). Zimonjic is a doubles specialist, and he's likely to be most comfortable and confident playing in yoke with either one of his own breed, or a singles player of no great reputation. So I expect to see Djokovic and Tiparevic playing singles, and Zimonjic and Troicki playing doubles.

But beyond the nuances of nomination—and one of the beauties of Davis Cup is that despite the small squads and streamlined order of play, the selection process is pretty complex—the overall theme of this Davis Cup is that it's all about Djokovic.

Federer and Nadal have turned Grand Slam events into a table for two, but the Davis Cup invites players to become national heroes—a call to which Djokovic is very receptive. The big question regarding Djokovic, the most accomplished player in the tie, is how he'll react to the intense amount of pressure he'll be under. For everyone not French is operating on the assumption that Djokovic is good for two Ws.

You know what they say: From him to whom much is given, much is expected. Djokovic is a whopping 5-0 against Monfils, but just 1-1 against Llodra, who beat Djokovic in Paris just a few weeks ago. The other day, Djokovic said, "This is the biggest occasion of our lives."

He's likely to find out just how big the moment is when he steps out onto the floor of the Belgrade Arena to hit those first balls.


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Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 12/02/2010 at 10:00 AM

Jewell : Where abouts are you in UK ?

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 12/02/2010 at 10:01 AM

ah, Yorkshire. That's where Peter Firth is from. One of my faves.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 12/02/2010 at 10:03 AM

I'm on the border of north-east Hampshire & Surrey, Lynne, just south of Guildford.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 12/02/2010 at 10:05 AM

Sounds lovely, Jewell. I am particularly fond of Guildford as one of my sons used to live there.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 12/02/2010 at 10:14 AM

Well, I must go and sort our Christmas tree out now. See you later, everyone.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 12/02/2010 at 10:16 AM

Bye lynne. I've got to run out too. Enjoy the snow, jewell!

Posted by tina (ajde, Novak: handsome and talented Balkans #1, world #3, Davis Cup hero, AO 2008 titleist, reigning USO finalist, cutest butt in tennis, rapper, the face of Belgrade t-shirts, Novak water and Restaurant - don't u wish your polyglot was hott like me) 12/02/2010 at 10:34 AM

Yolita 12/01/2010 at 07:19 PM

"Basically, the Serbs reached the final without having to leave home, and that helped their effort immensely."

Actually, it wasn't as easy as you paint it. When Serbia played in Croatia there were problems. When Nole appeared, somebody yelled "Kill the Serb" and there were disruptions, burning of Serbian flags, etc. Most people were respectful and Ljubicic helped a lot, but it certainly wasn't like "playing at home". I think for the Serbian team it's harder to play in Croatia than it is to play in many other countries. Novak behaved very maturely and managed to handle the crowd well. It wasn't easy. On the contrary, it was harder than most Davis cup crowds.
-------------------

I was there; the decision to hold the tie in Split was rightly controversial, as Dalmatians can be woefully stubborn and angry about events that didn't even directly involve them. I saw no flag-burning, but did hear many mean words, noise-making during the service motion, and raucous booing during the Serbian anthem. Even though bad crowd behavior was meant to cause point penalties, that was never enforced by the chair. Ljubicic did stop play to ask supporters to be quiet and respectful, but it didn't last long. It was also strange - to me, an "Outsider" with more than a foot in the door - that there wasn't much support for great Serbian play, when most people who can remember the 1990s can also remember a time of "mixed marriages" - even Dijana Djokovic is an ethnic Croat. I was torn between the two teams myself, but Croatia had already won the Cup, and the animosity was too cruel. I clapped for great points, regardless of team, and received many withering glances.

If I remember correctly, there was some controversy about how many tickets had been allotted for Serbian supporters; yet Cilic bused in a group of ultra-nationalist "homies" from "West Herzegovina". I also read that there were nasty signs on the motorways, so I was glad to have arrived by boat.
I cried through the booing of the Serbian anthem as it was.

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

Since its kinda quiet around here, OT:

MA - For you if you are around: This would be quite funny to witness (pun fully intended) if it actually takes root a Quickens today -

Last week, [David] Acosta, who is actually a Celtics fan from El Paso, started a Laugh at Lebron campaign on Twitter that is asking fans at the Quicken Loans Arena on Thursday to mock James instead of boo him. Acosta, who has nearly 1,000 followers on Twitter, figures that James, like most professional athletes, has learned how to play in hostile arenas and tune out boos. The last thing he would anticipate hearing is laughter. So if fans want to get a rise out of him, why not do the opposite of what he expects?

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/morning-jolt/12/02/jolt.december.2/index.html#ixzz16y9Xg8J8

Posted by Master Ace 12/02/2010 at 10:48 AM

TMFunk,
We will know the answer to LeBron at 8 PM tonight on TNT.

Posted by TMFunk 12/02/2010 at 10:53 AM

yup...they've done well to regroup the last couple of games. We'll see how da man handles the situation.

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny server Rafa fan 12/02/2010 at 11:05 AM

okay here is the question: will Serena W. catch Fed in slam numbers? She is at 13 and he is at 16. Sure Serena is older, but she faces less competition, especially at Wimby.

Now the 2nd question is that when Rafa will catch Serena? He's at 9 and she is at 13. He probably won't catch her next year at this time, that's for sure.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 12/02/2010 at 11:05 AM

tina: what a story/experience! A little unnerving if you ask me. Did security swoop in and eject whoever yelled "kill the serb?" If Nole heard that, I'm impressed he was even able to play. Scary stuff.

Posted by Master Ace 12/02/2010 at 11:17 AM

Old Man Fed/Puny server Rafa fan,
No on Serena catching Federer as she will miss AO due to her foot injury and she struggles at the French. Can you believe that Serena has not won on RED clay since she won the French in 2002? I will disagree about Serena having less competition that Federer.
On Nadal catching Serena, 2011 will be very crucial. If Nadal wins 2 Slams, I will say yes provided Serena win one or less. Overall, that is a good question.

Posted by beth 12/02/2010 at 11:32 AM

Annie - welcome back from your travels . So glad you had a great time !

Posted by Master Ace 12/02/2010 at 11:35 AM

Beth,
Ready for the SEC(despite shady officiating at times) to be the BCS champion for the 5th year in a row?

Posted by Holds2Love 12/02/2010 at 11:36 AM

TMFunk, I saw that. And others are urging a show of class. http://tinyurl.com/3a9s8vq
Clearly Cavs fans face a "Decision." I also heard that the Heat's plane had some problems coming into Cleveland, but landed safely. Think they were nervous? ;-) Apparently they are staying at an undisclosed location and will not do a morning shootaround at the Q. Can't help but compare that to Tina's incredible story upthread, which kind of puts it in perspective.

Posted by Holds2Love 12/02/2010 at 11:37 AM

In other news, England will not host the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Russia will, despite the best efforts of David Beckham, Prince William and David Cameron.

Posted by beth 12/02/2010 at 11:41 AM

MA - ha , ha
I am ready for the games , and let's see what happens :)
First Oregon and Auburn have to get past their opponents this weekend.

wouldn't that just throw a monkey wrench in the works if Oregon State and South Caroline both produced upsets?
while I would not put money on OSU , the old ball coach can never be underestimated

Posted by beth 12/02/2010 at 11:43 AM

Hey, did I read that Pspace is back and planning on going to IW this year ?
Andrew could probably use a male buddy in the midst of all us women who show up there - year after year .

Posted by tina (ajde, Novak: handsome and talented Balkans #1, world #3, Davis Cup hero, AO 2008 titleist, reigning USO finalist, cutest butt in tennis, rapper, the face of Belgrade t-shirts, Novak water and Restaurant - don't u wish your polyglot was hott like me) 12/02/2010 at 11:45 AM

Annie, in all honesty, I found it heartbreaking, and I was highly disappointed in the kind of welcome Split gave its visitors. Even knowing what they might face in Split, some intrepid folks made the journey anyway, though there are still no flights between countries, or direct trains between Split and Belgrade - it's an overnight bus unless you can afford to drive yourself or a train to Zagreb and then a bus to Split with a poor connection.

okay, if we're making comparisons between genders, will Fed catch Graf in Slam numbers?

Posted by Master Ace 12/02/2010 at 11:45 AM

Holds2Love,
Qatar will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup over USA.

Posted by Master Ace 12/02/2010 at 11:47 AM

Beth,
Yes, Spurrier may have a trick or two under his sleeve as he and his team have not been talked about much this week due to the Newton situation.

Tina,
There is no way that Federer catch Steffi. He will be lucky to catch Chris and Martina at 18.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 12/02/2010 at 11:50 AM

I'm kind of glad we didn't get the World Cup so soon after the Olympics. Russia's bid sounded funny, too.

Posted by Master Ace 12/02/2010 at 11:55 AM

Jewell,
6 years would have been plenty of time for England to transition from Olympics to the World Cup.

Posted by Holds2Love 12/02/2010 at 11:56 AM

jewell, funny haha or funny peculiar? ;-)

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 12/02/2010 at 12:00 PM

Funny haha mainly. :) In a good way.

It would've been enough time, it's just, you know, share the love and all that. :)

Are you snowed in, Holds2Love?

Posted by Holds2Love 12/02/2010 at 12:05 PM

hey jewell, no snow in London today, though freeeeezing. hope you are staying warm and don't have to be out in treacherous conditions.

Posted by Holds2Love 12/02/2010 at 12:07 PM

Are we still venting our outrage over the WTF final? Because Pat Cash identified Kevin Spacey as the owner of The Globe! That ought to be worth a few pages ;-)

Posted by Pspace 12/02/2010 at 12:08 PM

Hey beth. Yeah, I'm back ;-). And, will probably make the trek down to IW for the first weekend. Well, hopefully, Andrew isn't injured this time (I believe he was lat time), and he can give me a tennis lesson ;-).

Btw, MA, would you have said that Steffi would be lucky to catch Chrissy and Martina back in 1991? She won 3 slams in a 3 year period '90,'91,'92. Monica came up, and Steffi had some injury issues IIRC. And, we know the rest of the story.

Anyway, her career stats are kinda crazy. She won slams over a 12 year period. Federer started too late to duplicate that. But, I feel like he's got at least three more years at one slam a year. And, who knows, throw a couple more in there, and voila, he's close to Steffi.

But, if I had to bet, I would bet against him.

Posted by CL 12/02/2010 at 12:13 PM

beth - yes, I think I did read that Pspace was planning to attend IW. Maybe he will come decked out in all his Rafa gear as a special treat. ;-)

jewell - snow? Seriously? How much? And where are you, roughly, in England again? Near London?
We got nada here. The ski areas are making snow like crazy but it keeps getting cold and then warming up and melting what they have made. We did have a pretty amazing windstorm yesterday... one of those where you could literally, stand/lean at a 45% angle and the wind would hold you up.

Posted by tina (ajde, Novak: handsome and talented Balkans #1, world #3, Davis Cup hero, AO 2008 titleist, reigning USO finalist, cutest butt in tennis, rapper, the face of Belgrade t-shirts, Novak water and Restaurant - don't u wish your polyglot was hott like me) 12/02/2010 at 12:13 PM

There is no way that Federer catch Steffi. He will be lucky to catch Chris and Martina at 18.
----------------
Precisely my point. Which is why I always try to insist that women be allowed into the old "dead equine" conversation. :)

going back on topic, I'm not sure that I agree this tie is all about Djokovic. That's what I originally thought about the semifinal tie, myself - but in the end it came down to gutsy Tipsarevic winning a live fifth rubber. Nice to see him on this page. A Serbian friend in NYC that I watch a lot of tennis with isn't around these parts this weekend. Lucky Zvonko will be in the Arena. :))

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 12/02/2010 at 12:14 PM

SPACIE!!!

Never mind Steffi, what about Margaret Court? (since AM isn't here and I think I am still vice-president of Rafa Inc)

Pat Cash is always worth a few pages. :) Nic said she saw him on the tube looking rather the worse for wear one morning, and - this surprises me - that he wasn't very famous in Australia - only as the face as some kind of funny hair product. (not black and white checked hairbands though.)

I'm ok to stay at home, Holds2Love, it's a quiet time at work for me - I work for a company that plans and organises weddings & catering stuff, supplies equipment, staff, etc; and the next one isn't till January 30th. Sorting out tablecloths/updating the staff database can wait...it's just not worth risking driving considering how unused we all are to heavy snow.

Posted by beth 12/02/2010 at 12:16 PM

tina - that particular tie sounds like it was a scary situation. Understanding your connection to that region , I am sure it hurt you a great deal to see such animosity on display. While I get it , that those feelings cannot just be erased , I always hate it when that sort of behavior spills over into the sports world.

MA - I can imagine there is much relief in the Auburn camp this morning . But don't let your guard down - cause Spurrier is a tricky dude under that visor . And while being under the radar has never been his specialty - he is probably plotting as we speak to ruin the Auburn party . Hmmm - after the way OSU manhandled my Trojans at their home stadium , perhaps I am being to casual in assuming the Ducks will win also. Maybe they need to work on a few extra flashcards this week :)

Pspace - look forward to meeting you there , and I hope Andrew is able to play with you . I never seem to have time to play any tennis while there - between my watching tennis , partying with the group and chaperoning my daughter - who along with her sorority sister - will once again be there to stir up some trouble. Apparently , she prefers California sunshine to the chilly gulf coast at that time of year , and will be spending her spring break in the desert - trying to get away from my watchful eye , I am sure.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 12/02/2010 at 12:17 PM

Hey CL! Really? no snow?! We have got, I don't know, eight inches of snow on the ground, something like that. Over the top of my boots anyway, as I found out on going outside - grr.

I saw a goldfinch in the snow yesterday and thought of you. :)

Posted by Pspace 12/02/2010 at 12:17 PM

Hey JEWELL!

LOL, no one can ever catch Court ;-). Even if Federer wins 27 or whatever, he wouldn't have done it after having borne children.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 12/02/2010 at 12:19 PM

Hi beth! yes, isn't that great news about Pspace? hi pspace! I think most of us are there the first weekend. And it will be nice for Andrew :)

Holds2Love: Did you make any matches at the O2? sorry I didn't know you were in London. I would have tried to get you to come to our twibal get together. next time?

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 12/02/2010 at 12:20 PM

Are you enjoying your job, Spacie? I was glad to read you still had Rafa's shoes. :)

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 12/02/2010 at 12:20 PM

Pspace, LOL - too true. Roger's talented, but not that talented.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 12/02/2010 at 12:23 PM

I don't know, he's a father - isn't that vaguely equivalent, barring the physical issues? :)

Posted by Pspace 12/02/2010 at 12:24 PM

Hey Annie.

jewell, yeah, the job is great! Loving San Francisco. Except, I was so enthusiastic about the weather, that I went and played tennis at 6AM without taking a jacket. Caught a chill and then went running in the rain the next day ;-). Last couple of days, I've been sick...so working out of home....and hence, got to catch up with y'all. But, otherwise it's busy. How's stuff going with you?

Posted by Master Ace 12/02/2010 at 12:24 PM

"Btw, MA, would you have said that Steffi would be lucky to catch Chrissy and Martina back in 1991? She won 3 slams in a 3 year period '90,'91,'92. Monica came up, and Steffi had some injury issues IIRC. And, we know the rest of the story. "

Pspace,
Indeed, I would have said that with Monica dominating all the Slams except Wimbledon in that time frame but we know what happened after Monica won 1993 AO and was preparing to win the French for the 4th year in a row.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 12/02/2010 at 12:26 PM

glad you're liking san francisco. such a great city. hope you feel better soon. I caught a cold in London so I'm home taking it easy too.

Posted by Holds2Love 12/02/2010 at 12:27 PM

Hi Annie, just de-lurked recently, and NO! I didn't make it to a single match. not that I'm bitter about it, or anything. I did go last year, though. Great fun. This year I was meant to be out of the country, so I didn't get tickets. By the time my plans changed, it was too late. I will definitely be there next year. I'm really happy for you, though. Sounds like you had a wonderful time.

wait -- Margaret Court had children and went on to win majors? huh, I thought Kim was the first.

Posted by beth 12/02/2010 at 12:27 PM

sorry you are ill , Pspace - but nice getting a chance to catch up
I have to run
final league match of the season this morning - wish me luck !

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 12/02/2010 at 12:29 PM

*sends special magic cold & chill curing tea to Spacie & Annie*

Things are good, Pspace - don't think I've done anything interesting. I was there for Saturday's Murray-Rafa SF and it was fabulous, that's about it. :)

Kim is the nicest. ;)

Posted by Holds2Love 12/02/2010 at 12:31 PM

Good luck, Beth!

Posted by CL 12/02/2010 at 12:31 PM

Hold2Love - Really!? Oh, Pat, you are a bit of a dim bulb indeed.

Speaking of Spacey and things NOT to be miffed about re the WTF final...this is pretty nice...even Rafa fans might like it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3zJZuE1REI

Warning! - it does have Greg Rusedski's voice on it, so remember, mute can be your friend. (Actually I muted most of it -maybe this was where Pat mis-identified KS.)

And as an aside, it is just this sort of thing that makes some of the 'There Shall Be (bad) Blood'/Macho men..hello Pspace and Sherlock - I'm talkin' to you...wince. Can anyone imagine Jimbo's mom giving JMac a hug? Not unless she was trying to squeeze the life out of him!

Posted by Colette 12/02/2010 at 12:33 PM

Annie, btw, I hope your back is better

Posted by Holds2Love 12/02/2010 at 12:36 PM

commiserations to cold and back pain sufferers... CL, yes, I saw that. very sweet from Rafa's mom. wouldn't you love to see that exchange btw Federer and Mrs. Djokovich? ;-)

Posted by CL 12/02/2010 at 12:36 PM

jewell - jeeze...climate change and the world turned upside down. I do remember that one of the computer models postulated that England might get colder and snowier. Something about the gulf stream..Of course, England has always gotten some snow...just ask Mr. Dickens...and I was there in March once when it snowed..just a little..but it seems like you have had a lots of snow lots of times over the past few years.

I WANT some! WAH!!!

OK- back on topic. **nervous about Gilles** Can't say exactly why.

Posted by Pspace 12/02/2010 at 12:37 PM

Well, ciao a tutti. Good luck beth! And, hope you feel better too, Annie. CL, yeah, I want no part of those hugs ;-).

Welcome to TW, Holds2Love. May your name serve as inspiration to all tennis players.

Posted by CL 12/02/2010 at 12:38 PM

Hold2Love - i think Fed would go into 'aloof/polite' mode. The was he deals with Wilander. ;-)

Posted by CL 12/02/2010 at 12:40 PM

make that 'the WAY' he deal with Wilander.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 12/02/2010 at 12:42 PM

*sips Jewell's special tea* - delish!

colette: you have a great memory -- went to the doc before the trip and she fixed me up in the back dept. thankfully.

Kevin Spacey was sitting close to where I was in the O2. I don't know if it was my imagination but he seemed to be quite enthralled by Rafa. don't blame him one bit.

Posted by Holds2Love 12/02/2010 at 12:42 PM

love London in the snow... hope you get some soon, CL.

thanks, Pspace. hope you stay around, even after you're not working from home.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 12/02/2010 at 12:47 PM

Just caught that vid -- so lovely of the nadals. I think it's very sweet and sporting. Fed looks so happy.

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

ahhh, I love the friendly huggy rivalries. :)

CL - we usually get a little bit in the New Year - any time from January to March - but it was never more than about 3 inches which would disrupt life for one day and then melt - "never" meaning, in the last 20 years or so - but the last two years we've had it earlier, and much heavier, and it's frozen in places for *weeks*. Apparently it is all the fault of the jet stream moving off somewhere.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 12/02/2010 at 12:52 PM

In the south, that is. Different rules apply north of Watford.

Posted by Alexis 12/02/2010 at 12:55 PM

It's pretty apparent that the Federers and the Nadals get along very well. Roger's Dad is right there with the Nadals when they congratulate Roger in the hall after the final. And it was nice to see Mirka and one of Fed's parents stick around after Roger's match to clap for Rafa when he was given his #1 and SE trophies. Obvious respect there.

Posted by Holds2Love 12/02/2010 at 12:58 PM

Great seats, Annie!

now here's some wintry London weather:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_Frozen_Thames_1677.jpg

really, CL? I was under the impression that when Roger is around Mats he goes into a testosterone-fueled macho display. "I do so have them!" ;-)

Posted by Holds2Love 12/02/2010 at 01:00 PM

or, "I do too have them!" or whatever...

Posted by Alexis 12/02/2010 at 01:01 PM

Not sure why we would compare Serena's major haul to Fed, or Rafa to Serena. Apples and oranges. Men play Best-of-5 and women play Best-of-3. No comparison.

Let's see if Serena comes close to Steffi at 22 majors. Or let's see where Rafa and Roger end up. I don't much care whether Serena gets more than 16 majors. It's whether she gets close to Steffi, and I don't see that happening. And who cares whether Rafa gets near Serena's 13? It's how close he comes to Pete's 14 and Roger's 16 that matters.

Posted by CL 12/02/2010 at 01:04 PM

Alexis/Annie/Jewell - yes, very nice all around...Luthi also stayed w/Mirka and a Feder'rent' to applaud Rafa's awards. And of course there was that incredibly gracious moment at the Wimby 08 final when Robbie patted Rafa on the back as he scrambled over them to get to his box. And Lynette saying such positive things about Rafa after the match. (Hello, Mrs. D!)

BUT - clearly, none, or little of this translates to some/many/most of their fans...lol..

AND - it is a total turnoff to the 'There Must Be Blood Boyos." (See Pspace, above.) HuggyBears, so NOT their thing.

Posted by Sherry 12/02/2010 at 01:05 PM

With Llodra's name being prominently floated as a potential #2 singles player, I'll bet Djokovic (my favorite) spent a lot of time working on passing shots. That could stand him in good stead in the future, as Federer will likely be coming to the net more than in the past. I'm glad I don't have to get up at 5 am (California time) to watch Novak tomorrow. Not that I'm not interested in the first match - just not 5 am interested.

Posted by CL 12/02/2010 at 01:11 PM

Hold2love - well, a couple of years after the famous Wilanders comment form Mats, Roger did do an interview w/Mats and Mats seemed pretty nervous and Roger seemed a bit 'Not Ready to Make Nice.'

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHH8bfPhusM

(Of course, in the technical, anatomical sense, there is a lack of Wilanders here..but not in the metaphorical sense. ;-))

Posted by Tigress 12/02/2010 at 01:25 PM

Master Ace:

Saw your prediction that Robin Soderling will drop out of the Top 5 in the coming year. Perhaps. But here's the rub: who behind him is good enough or well positioned to catch him in the near to medium future?

Roddick?
Birdy??
Delpo??? (about zero points at present)
Ferrer????
Davydenko????? Very few points at present
Tsonga??????
Verdasco???????
Monfils????????
Cilic?????????
Gulbis?????????????

Soderling may be vulnerable, but I just don't see any other viable contenders for #5. Maybe Delpo in late '11 if he's healthy.

Or Murray (dropping down from #4). heee-heee!

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 12/02/2010 at 01:25 PM

I'm off to make supper, see you all later. :)

Posted by Just another lurker 12/02/2010 at 01:29 PM

Interesting topic, Master Ace : never say never
- Forget when Monica was playing, even after 94 US open where Steffi's back issues got worse and was told by doctors that she might be only fit to play club tennis if she did not have surgery, no one including Steffi would have believed she would come back to win 7 more GS titles and when everyone thought she had real chance of beating Court, she retired all of a sudden.
- Can never predict the future although agree it is less likely for Fed to achieve 22 but would never say 'no way'.

Posted by CL 12/02/2010 at 01:32 PM

OK - here's why I am nervous for Gilles...even if I don't really have a strong rooting interest and am just planning on enjoying the tennis as tennis. Tipsy is one of those players who goes hot and cold. Was it at the USO this year he played so well? Just hitting winners kinda out of the blue. And Gilles does best when he can get into 'relentless mode' and draw errors. Sort of a (much)cuter Murray. So I am not sure this is a good match up for him. That is, if Tipsy is in 'hot' mode. Notsohot, Gilles should be fine.

Of course, since I DON'T have a real rooting interest, I should change 'nervous' to 'don't think this is a good match up for him.' ;-))

Posted by Tigress 12/02/2010 at 01:33 PM

Alexis: "It's how close he [Rafa] comes to Pete's 14 and Roger's 16 that matters."

Correction: make that Federer's 19-22. Which will be the real target by the time Nadal gets up to that level, if he ever does. Which I strongly doubt he will.

Posted by Carol 12/02/2010 at 01:42 PM

Hi everybody and in special to Annie, hope you had a great time in London!

Talking about the Williams sister I thing that they are pretty busy with their respective "boy friends" , maybe tennis is going to second priority?

Posted by Carol 12/02/2010 at 01:45 PM

I meant Williams sisters, both

Posted by sokol 12/02/2010 at 01:46 PM

"6 years would have been plenty of time for England to transition from Olympics to the World Cup"

I was surprised that Russia got it, because it will be only 4 years after Sochi Winter Olympics. 2 big events so close in time...

Posted by Tic 12/02/2010 at 01:53 PM

Yes, there's snow in England, and Murray is rolling in it:
http://tinyurl.com/35blstz

Meantime in Belgrade, an Argentinian journo witnessed a practice session chat between Djokovic and Simon, when Nole asked Gilles about his baby son and wanted to see some pics, so Gilles gave him his phone:
http://www.fuebuena.com.ar/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/simon-djokovic.jpg

Posted by Colette 12/02/2010 at 02:05 PM

Aaaawww, two great pics, Tic. I'm a sucker for the pup in plaid.

Posted by TMFunk 12/02/2010 at 02:08 PM

Tigress - shhh...you don't disclose such sensitive numbers to the public domain until it has been fully vetted and approved for public dissemination by the Fellowship of Fedheads board

Posted by Carol 12/02/2010 at 02:14 PM

Serbia is going to be in fire like tonight Cleveland , the Heat will need the Nacinal Guard to protect them LOL

Posted by Master Ace 12/02/2010 at 02:16 PM

Pete has posted today's thread....

Posted by Carol 12/02/2010 at 02:34 PM

Sorry, I meant NATIONAL, what a day! LOL

Posted by sokol 12/02/2010 at 02:46 PM

"I was surprised that Russia got it"

and by the way there will be HUGE pressure on Russian soccer team to qualify. It's going to be an embarassment if they won't qualify again, they better make it in 2018, for their own sake :-)

Posted by sokol 12/02/2010 at 02:48 PM

"Serbia is going to be in fire like tonight Cleveland , the Heat will need the Nacinal Guard to protect them LOL"


I just hope Eagles will be on fire tonight as well :-)

Posted by Alexis 12/02/2010 at 03:04 PM

Ten thoughts about 2010 by Ed McGrogan

--------------------------

Year-end top-10 lists tend to summarize and surprise, and I expect this one -- the top 10 things that came to mind as the 2010 ATP season ended -- to do the same. You can't please everyone, and this year it's the Rafael Nadal fans who probably will take umbrage. Let's just get it out of the way:


1. Nadal's 2010 season does not compare to Roger Federer's 2006 campaign, and it's not even close. This is to take nothing away from Rafa's remarkable year -- he completed the career Grand Slam, and became the first player in more than 40 years to win Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in the same season -- but Federer's career year was far superior. They both won three Grand Slam tournaments, but in 2006, Federer also reached another Slam final, won four Masters events, made two more Masters finals -- the only top-tier event he played in which he didn't reach the final was Cincinnati -- and claimed the year-end championships. If you thought Nadal was unbeatable in 2010, consider that Federer had half as many defeats four years ago and won 21 more matches (92-5 versus 71-10). Advantage, Federer.

2. This was a great year for American men. The only thing people should be complaining about regarding U.S. tennis is that the Grandstand at the U.S. Open won't be standing much longer. Andy Roddick nearly pulled off the Indian Wells-Key Biscayne double. Sam Querrey won four tournaments; Mardy Fish won two and nearly beat Federer in the Cincinnati final. John Isner won the most amazing match in tennis history. For a day, Ryan Harrison stole the show at Flushing Meadows. I realize that the Americans performed poorly at the Slams, but their many other achievements cannot be neglected.

3. You can never say never in tennis. Andy Murray is but 23 and has been inside the top five for more than 100 consecutive weeks. Yet somehow, some talking heads have declared he'll never win a Slam. I have two words for them: Ivan Ljubicic. The ATP's answer to Francesca Schiavone won Indian Wells and will live off the fat of that catch until March, when the 1,000 ranking points he earned drop off. In his 22 other tournaments, Ljubicic earned a combined 965 points. Point being? Anyone can get hot over a two-week stretch, and a player as consistent as Murray has as strong a chance of doing so as any Slam-less player. And don't discount enigmatic talents like David Nalbandian and Fernando Verdasco, either. They've disappointed before, but they haven't disappeared.

4. Someone besides Federer or Nadal will win a Slam in 2011. Seems like a safe bet until you consider that one of them has won 23 of the past 26 majors. But the pair didn't meet at the end of a Slam this season, and four other players -- Murray, Robin Soderling, Tomas Berdych and Novak Djokovic -- reached major finals. Three of them now have done that multiple times. I'm thinking one of them will go all the way next season.

5. The most entertaining player in tennis is Michael Llodra. I didn't know much about the Frenchman until I saw him serve and volley at a 2008 Davis Cup tie, but I quickly became a fan. Llodra surely converted others at the Paris Masters, where he deftly made his way to the semis. Llodra doesn't just play a different way; he does it extremely well. Watch the highlights of his win over Djokovic in Bercy or check him out this weekend in the Davis Cup final.

6. David Ferrer can be entertaining, too. The Spaniard's no-frills brand of tennis won him 60 matches and two titles. But what I'll remember most about the world No. 7 is one of his 24 defeats: 7-5, 7-6 (8), 3-6, 3-6, 6-7 (4) to Verdasco in the fourth round of the U.S. Open. No one does marathon matches quite like Ferrer, even if he's often on the losing end of them. He lost in five sets at three of the four Grand Slam tournaments.

7. Nicolas Mahut deserves some wild cards. And Thomas Muster, the former world No. 1 who's made a serious comeback at age 43, should get one at Roland Garros, where he won in 1995.

8. Don't forget about Marin Cilic. He trailed off after the clay season, but Cilic traditionally starts off strong and should be primed for another big January.

9. Or Marcos Baghdatis. The Cypriot quit Davis Cup to focus on regaining his place in the top 10. Despite some injuries, he finished this season at No. 20.

10. I can wait until 2011. The two-week reduction of the ATP season -- one of those weeks, mind you, was idle time -- won't go into effect until 2012, so in just a few weeks we'll start another 11-month odyssey. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and that includes sports fans, both savvy and surly. Not that the ATP would know. It's already advertising the 2011 World Tour Final.

http://espn.go.com/sports/tennis/blog/_/name/tennis

Posted by Aube,I feel for Lebron tonight plus I'm not sure about their dream team no more!!! 12/02/2010 at 03:36 PM

Carol,
Who is Venus' boyfriend?I only know Serena's,did Venus find a good catch lately?I'll be happy for her if she does get the real deal and nobody prone to scandal that will contribute to more criticism for them...
Hey you all!!!

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 12/02/2010 at 03:44 PM

Thanks for the top ten list, Alexis.

Yes, I am now a Llodra fan. After his dispatching of Berdy at the Open and his performance in Bercy. Very entertaining, talented player.

No quarrel with his first point. Rafa still had a great year regardless. He will never have a season like Fed's '06. No one will.

And I agree that murray or nole will (hopefully) win a slam in '11.

That pic of Nole and Gilles is just 'awesome sauce' as rafadoc would say!

Posted by CL 12/02/2010 at 03:55 PM

Gawd...don't let Pspace see that pic of Novak and Gilles...if he finds out the warm fuzzies and baby pics have taken over DC, he'll despair of ever getting some good trash talk.

Colette - ***sternly*** dogs should NOT wear coats. Ever. They HAVE coats. And especially they shouldn't wear plaid coats that look they were made from the upholstery of a 1963 Toyota.

Posted by Colette 12/02/2010 at 04:02 PM

CL, mine never would! But the plaid for Scot's pampered pooch was cute, and maybe it came from the upholstery of that fancy sports car Andy had to "give up" (iirc).

Since we're talkin' trash for wusses, I just read that Boris Becker had a facelift!

Posted by Sherlock 12/02/2010 at 04:06 PM

#1 on that top ten list cracks me up. What is it about tennis anyway? One person's results can be discussed without some sort of comparison being made. If you talk about Roger, you have to talk about Rafa, and vice-verse. It's like a disease. So Ed makes a year-end top 10 list for 2010, and his first point is mostly about Roger's 2006 season. Um, ok. And this is relevant how? :)

I hope Ed writes about other sports sometime. I look forward to the NBA wrap-up for this year, when Ed's first point is how great Jordan was in 95-96. :)

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 12/02/2010 at 04:15 PM

oh no, Colette, I actually think he needed one. When they played a tape of him at the O2 (a promo tape of him touring the fanzone) he looked like a bassett hound. He is one man who didn't age well. But I hate facelifts under any circumstance, especially with men. yuck. very interesting tidbit.

Sherlock, yup, I had the same reaction to Ed's #1 but wasn't going to touch it for fear of starting a fedal. But since you brought it up...

Posted by CL 12/02/2010 at 04:22 PM

Sherlock - hush, now. You know the rules - its like that very old tune, "Love and Marriage" - ".... you can't have one without the OTher.." Everybody sing. Maybe Ed has been reading here too much.

BTW - I hope you managed to avoid all the bromance and warm fuzzies up thread?

Colette - I saw that about BoomBoom too and given the picture they used, I think it was on TC, I steal the same response from Dorothy Parker re the death of Calvin Coolidge that I used when someone alleged that Roger had had a nose job. "How can they tell?"

Of course, Beckham's re the Federschnoz was even better. She said, if it was true, he should ask for his money back. Same for BB I think. Unless of course, I have only seen 'before' pics.

Posted by TMFunk 12/02/2010 at 04:25 PM

"So Ed makes a year-end top 10 list for 2010, and his first point is mostly about Roger's 2006 season. Um, ok. And this is relevant how?"

- No more and no less relevant that the length of Rafa's SF match to the outcome of Fed's YEC win some would say :)

oh c'mon - I bit below the belt I'll admit, but I'm bored, its close to the end of the day but not there yet and I need something to get me to 5 pm!

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 12/02/2010 at 04:26 PM

CL: I think he took one look at the vid he made for the ATP and rushed off to the nearest surgeon. If he has had a facelift I don't think we've seen him in public yet. Or was the TC pic supposedly post-op?

Posted by TMFunk 12/02/2010 at 04:27 PM

unless folks here would rather talk about the potentially biggest discovery since fire - A bacteria that has its DNA based on arsenic and not phosphates!

Anybody?

Posted by Sherlock 12/02/2010 at 04:34 PM

Annie, sure, let me be the guinea pig. :)

CL, he he. Now I'll have that song stuck in my head the rest of the day. Thanks a lot.

I didn't mean to be harsh on Ed. I really like his writing in all the various things I've seen around here. It just seems like a 2010 summary should stick with that year. If you want to write an article comparing the greatest single years of all time, that would be interesting too. Just didn't seem the place.

Oh, and if that article is ever written here, I'm avoiding it like the plague. GOAT overload!! :)

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 12/02/2010 at 04:35 PM

TMFunk: you'll have to explain to me why that's such an amazing discovery. Why is arsenic better than phosphates? Sounds dangerous to me, like biological warfare. so clearly I need to be enlightened.

Posted by Sherlock 12/02/2010 at 04:36 PM

TMFunk, focus on just how loud LeBron will get booed tonight. :)

Apologies to all LeBron fans, but I hope Cleveland wins, and he goes about 7 for 35. :)

Posted by Colette 12/02/2010 at 04:39 PM

Sherlock/Annie

Seems like everything has to be reduced to "comparisons." Nothing can ever be just good/great per se. Guess soon we'll be waging the
"Best Season Held In Time" debate (makes for an appropriate acronym)

Posted by CWATC 12/02/2010 at 04:41 PM

TMFunk,
If you want some tennis-related reading this profile of Djoker is great(I posted it on the new thread as well):

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/02/sports/tennis/02iht-SRDCDJOKOVIC.html?_r=1&hpw

Posted by TMFunk 12/02/2010 at 04:43 PM

Annie - Full disclosure: I'm no micro-biologist (and I also did not stay at a holiday Inn recently), but the gist as I understand it is: DNA is the backbone of life. No DNA, no life. So far, DNA has been thought of as composed of 4 atoms of oxygen and one of phosphorous, i.e. a phosphate. So, no phosphate, no life. Al that has seemingly changed with the discovery of this bacteria that can build its DNA with arsenic, instead of phosphorous. Essentially it is potentially a transformational discovery because it moves the goal-posts for what constitutes life. Not only here on earth but also on other worlds. Introduces a new sub-field in microbiology, expands the signatures we look for when looking for life on other planets etc etc. I say potentially because some scientists have expressed skepticism that the results actually demonstrate evidence of arsenic in the DNA.

You can read more here: http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/arsenic-bacteria-alien-life-101202.html

Posted by TMFunk 12/02/2010 at 04:45 PM

Sherlock,
Did you read the article I posted earlier about this guy who's proposing fans laugh at Lebron instead of boo him coz pro athlets know how to shut off booing, but being laughed at may really rattle him? That would be quite funny to see 17000 fans laughing at the guy every time he touches the ball!

Posted by Colette 12/02/2010 at 04:49 PM

CL, Annie, the BB pics were cartoonishly bizarre (or looking through the Romper Room mirror). Looked like he was still swollen from the surgery.

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