Archive for December, 2009

Tennis Pool Gets Intense

Posted by Brodie under: Uncategorized

29 Dec 2009

For those who signed up for Tennis-pool.com or are going to (you all should!), I’m going to run everything through a private group, just because tons of random people ended up in the public one the second I made it, and it makes things more confusing. Drop me your team name, and I’ll send you an invite. I’m going to post the results of the tennis pool through the year (likely every Sunday when we switch over teams) which will be hella intense and fun. If you end up wanting to join later, or miss this or whatever, and have a team and want in, just let me know, and I can fire an invite your way. Thanks guys… now sign up!

Realization Revelation

Posted by Brodie under: Hopman Cup

29 Dec 2009

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Of course, Brisbane starts the 3rd, and I know Hopman Cup always gets things going early… but here‘s the schedule for Hopman Cup. Australia (Superhero and Rusty Lawnmower) vs. Romania (Banana and Hanescu) kick it off on Saturday the 2nd at 10am. Which is actually 9pm Friday night for me. So holy shit. For those over in North America, the season doesn’t really start Sunday, it starts Friday night (unofficially). Grab your strap-ons and get ready.

26 Dec 2009

So Barbara from Fierce Tennis made a post about tennis-pool.com which looks amazing. As a lover of fantasy leagues, this definitely rules.

You pick 10 ATP and 10 WTA players for each week, however, you’re capped by a certain amount of ranking points, and you can only “trade in” 3 ATP and 3 WTA players PER WEEK. So basically you need to pick who you think will do well each week, within a certain ranking limit (like a salary cap). Brilliant, and awesome. What’s even better is that it’s not a forum, its all organized on the site, and it’s insanely easy to use. You really only need to make your picks each Sunday, and then see how they do during the week, and that’s it. My name is MindTheRacket and I’ve created a Mind The Racket club. You simultaneously compete against everyone (over 250 people joined right now) as well as other clubs, so if you don’t want to join the club, you totally don’t have to. Come on people!

Lots of people who read this also love suicide pool stuff, and for those who are interested, I plan on competing in the suicide pool over at TennisForum which has a brilliant and well organized ranking system and is a ton of fun (I’m only going to be doing the women, since I don’t have the brain capacity or patience to do both). My name on there is BrofUJu.

Hopefully a decent amount of you are interested, feel free to go nuts in the comments, ask questions on here or Twitter, and we can have a fun year of fantasy tennis picking!

It's Never Over…

Posted by Brodie under: Elf, Muzz, Rankings

26 Dec 2009

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(The tennis season)… Lover (Delpo), you should have come over (to the top 4)…

Which he would of, had he won the WTF in London. Regardless, Tennis Connected is reporting that he will anyway, on the 11th, as Muzz plays Hopman Cup with L-Rob (thanks for taking one for the team, Andy, that’s going to rule). Muzz will drop Doha points, which is a 250 event, and move Elf a whopping 5 points ahead. Buuut then Elf will lose his Auckland points, a week later, also a 250 event… however, he is playing the rather goofy Kooyong tournament, and Muzz’s website only says he is playing an exhibition, and Qatar (which must be behind, because Hopman Cup has replaced that). In other words, rankings are already confusing, le sigh.

The draw is released the 15th, however, and Elf WON’T have lost Auckland points by then, which means that he will be seeded fourth for the Australian Open. Which apparently might be old news anyway. Maybe I’m a little slow.

Regardless, this makes things pretty damn hard for Muzz. If everyone who is supposed to win does, he’ll have to beat three of the top four to win the tournament, which means Fed, Rafa, Nole or Elf in the quarters. Giggidy.

25 Dec 2009

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Have a fun, happy, and safe Christmas/holiday/day off! Have some chocolate, have some egg nog. From all of us here at MTR (so me)… and Alice in Chains. And this hilarious Fed pic…

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23 Dec 2009

Its that time again, folks! Because nothing says “sport” like treating your favourite players as stock market, money making bet machines, am I right? Carry on.

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Buy – Juan Martin Del Potro

What else is there to say? Oh, that I think he has the capability to be a number 1 some day? Oh, I went there. In an age where Fed and Rafa have really been the only ones who have mattered at the top, there’s been whispers of the fall of the two of them (specifically Fed, due to age), something really no one wants to see happen. But its going to, and in 3 years Captain BumblElf will be a shy 24. Fed will be 31. Rafa will be 26, Muzz and Nole will both be 25. Not that that’s old, but the US Open was THE statement for Juan that he can in fact beat anyone on tour. And hell, if he beat Fed in Paris, he just might have won the French Open (AKA for being a big time power player, he can play on clay). I don’t want to get too out of control with speculation, but it doesn’t even feel like Elf has reached the full potential of his game yet, and he’s already one of the most dangerous players on tour. You’ve been warned.

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Sell – Robin Soderling

Sure, he made a slam final, and upset the King of Clay on the way (not to mention some other great clay players like Koala and Ferru) and it seems a bit risky because of his rather awesome end to the year. The fact of the matter is that he got his clock cleaned by Fed about 40 times last season, really failed to come up with any serious upset other than Rafa at RG, and only won one 250 tournament. He only turns 26 in August, but I have a hard time believing that Sod will be able to keep such a high level of play, or ranking, all year long. Perhaps Sod will be able to come up with another major upset or two, but I wouldn’t count on his ranking or play getting him much higher than he is now.
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Buy – Jeremy Chardy

The 2006 Wimbledon Boys Champ and USO Runner-up made two 250 finals this year, losing the first to Jo in South Africa in February, and winning his first title in Stuttgart in July. He made the fourth round of the French Open, and at age 22, the Frenchie is slowly starting to creep his way onto people’s radar screens, finishing the year at the 32 rank. Oh, and he took a set off of Dick at Wimbledon in the first round, for what its worth, and beat both Marin and T-Rob. As his game continues to improve, along with his ranking, look for him to avoid big names in early rounds now that he’s in the top 32, and slowly creep his way up the rankings. Allez!

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Sell – Tommy Haas

Some serious props need to be given to a guy who managed to adapt his game, and serve and volley his way into his first Wimbledon semifinal at age 31 (on courts that were supposed to be slow!) and still goes by the name “Tommy”. I’m getting visions of Rugrats. Not to mention he made the fourth round of RG and the third round of the remaining two slams. Not bad at all my friend. At the same time, there’s a reason why I call you “Old Man Haas”. Its because you’re old. Don’t expect another freak slam semifinal run from the German, who managed to finish the year inside the top 20 at 18.

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Buy – Feliciano Lopez

Yup, Feli managed to finish the year ranked lower than both Blah and someone by the name of Horacio Zeballos (who?). But if Feli’s long hair gave him magical powers in the bedroom, getting rid of it gave him magical powers on the tennis court. After what was becoming an absolute joke of a year (and still ended with a losing record) and only getting to one quarter final all year, he knew he had to change it up. So he cut his hair. And made it to the Shanghai semifinals. Sure, everyone and their dog was injured (Feli retired against Rafa in the semi) but he beat Ferru and Sod along the way, no small feat. The dude has more talent than he let onto this year, that’s for sure, and much like Ana for the women, it seems nearly impossible that he could have an even worse year than he did in 2009.

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Sell – Mikhail Youzhny

The Youz had a rather quiet yet effective year, winning the Kremlin cup and making three other finals. However, if you think Caro played a lot of tournaments, get this. The Youz played a whopping 31, five more than her. Hard to see the 27 year old’s ranking rising much higher than the 19 its at now.

I'm Pretty Much A Big Deal

Posted by Brodie under: Serena

23 Dec 2009

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Oh, you.

The tennis season doesn’t REALLY ever end. You know how I know? Because we sure as hell haven’t run out of things to talk about for the past year, and within a week, the 2010 season will be a week away, and we’ll previewing that. Um, wow. Also, Serena hasn’t run out of things to talk about. Which, considering her favourite topic is herself, its unlikely that you would either, if your number 1 topic of interest was Serena. Associated Press gave her female athlete of the year, which I will agree, is deserved. (And yes, the second was given to a horse, ahead of Momma Kim. In the words of my mother “those fucking assholes”).

Clearly, Williams’ most infamous on-court episode — a tirade directed at a line judge after a foot-fault call near the end of her U.S. Open semifinal loss in September — didn’t hurt her standing in the eyes of the voters.

“People realize that I’m a great player, and one moment doesn’t define a person’s career,” Williams told the AP. “And I was right, for the most part: It wasn’t right the way I reacted — I never said it was — but I was right about the call.”

My mom actually watched that semifinal with me. At the time she exclaimed “oh, give it up hunny”. I couldn’t help but read that part, which was in the paper, to her. Her response this time? “What a nutjob, let it go!” Here’s to you mom.

22 Dec 2009

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Much talk has been made of the best athletes of the decade. In my honest opinion, you can’t argue too much for the ladies, its Serena all the way. But what about the men? Tiger Woods? Fed? Phelps? (Sorry AP, its not a guy who “sits for a living”). I’m tempted to pick Tiger, just because his decade of dominance was SO long, and its kind of awesome that a black dude could come along and mess with the old, rich, white man’s sport, no?

But then there’s Fed setting the grand slam record in a sport with such a long and insane history. Not to mention his slam semi final streak (which is still going) and a long period in which he was nearly untouchable. But what about Michael Phelps? Physically untouchable. Setting world records and collecting medals like its his day job.

Regardless, this is why I love lists for sport. They’re totally pointless and arbitrary, but they get discussion going, and get me nostalgic.

Sports Illustrated released its top everything for the decade, including franchises, coaches, everything I discussed above, and more. Their top 20 games/events is a hoot though and is bound to bring about some serious joy and nostalgia for all diehard sports nerds, even if there is some obvious American bias (AKA no soccer) just like the top athletes. I actually can’t believe how many of them I saw, some by complete chance, like the Bulls/Celtics playoff game. Regardless, the final three made me absolutely giddy, as they’re probably my favourite three of the decade, and for completely selfish and biased reasons.

Number 3, the Diamondbacks game 7 win over the Yankees (my least favourite team ever) in what was an absolute insane finish to a World Series of which I saw all of, and an all around amazing game. I still remember Gonzalez’s floater single into centre field to win it in the bottom of the 9th like it was yesterday.

Number 2 is the whacktastic Super Bowl of last season, in which, as most people know, my favourite football team, the Steelers, took it home with Santonio Holmes’ insane toe tapping touchdown reception. A completely insane game that had me on the edge of my seat the entire time.

Number 1? But of course, the greatest match ever played, in what is regarded as an all around “win for tennis” (maybe unless you’re a Fed fan). The “Fedal” rivalry was also the second greatest rivalry of the decade, too. Love the blurb:

The match had it all: context, gravitas, swings in momentum, injury, recovery, sportsmanship, acts of God. And some of the highest quality tennis ever played. In the end, it was a five-hour infomercial for everything right and virtuous about the sport. Nadal ended up prevailing 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-7 (8), 9-7, but those prone to cliché had it right: Tennis was the real winner that day.

Because its the off-season, I feel like blabbing about whatever partially tennis related stuff that interests me… but congrats tennis nerds! We were the sporting event of the decade! Here’s to another crazy 10 years!

Novak Djokovic: Fall Back Position

Posted by Brodie under: Nole

22 Dec 2009

Just randomly found this, its pretty fun, and it helps with tiding over for the next few weeks. Its actually pretty informative and an interesting insight into how Nole’s brain works when it comes to his game, and how he likes to position himself and prepare shots. His whole thing on the little jump in the second serve is kind of funny, that he actually does it on purpose and there’s a real rationale behind in. The video isn’t long but… who knows, maybe when Nole is an old fart at age 30, he’ll have a long and prosperous coaching career ahead of him.

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner?

Posted by Brodie under: Justine, Sydney

21 Dec 2009

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This one. (Sorry, I Google imagesed (yes that’s a verb) “Henin dinner” and this came up… I couldn’t help myself).

Justine has taken a wildcard into Sydney, and along with Auckland, is looking for some serious warming up to do before Melbourne. The Sydney field is totally stacked, including 9 of the top 10 (everyone but Venus) and well as the Aussie Sam “Superhero” Stosur. Might as well start getting used to the idea of Justine, she definitely wants to play, and between her and Kim being present through out the season, plan on the the ladies’ tour 2010 version to be tipped on its head compared to what you saw this year.

The Changeover Podcast:

Episode #56 – Indian Wells Wrap