Archive for October, 2010

28 Oct 2010

I feel like I’m a bit late to the show here, like saying “Rafa winning the USO was huge” or “the fall of the Berlin wall is going to be a significant historic event”. But screw it.

THIS IS THE GREATEST THING IN THE HISTORY OF HUMANITY.

Ahem.

There’s 300 views on this thing. Get on it people.

“This is good stuff, I think.”

“This way, this way, move like this.”

Indeed, Pico. Indeed.

Ponder The Racket V

Posted by Brodie under: Ponder The Racket

21 Oct 2010

- Sorry folks. I really wish I was around more. I really do. The good news? (Well, for you readers…) There’s a pretty solid chance that my university’s profs will be going on strike at the beginning of November… which means I might just be your one stop shop for everything Bali and Valencia! Word!

- A mere 900 matches into his career, Fed has never during a match. Ever. While we might not all be a huge fan of what the guy has to say off court, you’ve got to give him props for not only NEVER retiring during a match, but despite a few broken racquets here and a “I don’t give a shit” or two there, the guy is pretty composed and respectful on court. Yeah, I said it.

- Does the end of JJ’s season feel a bit like the end of Ana’s 2008 season? She’s been entirely MIA since a semifinal appearance in RG, and has the majority of her points from that tournament, her Indian Wells win, and her final in Rome. Along with a fourth round appearance in Miami, if she struggles early next year, she could be in serious danger of a plummeting rank come Roland Garros.

- I can’t help but think that Delpo should just call it a year. There will be plenty of tournaments pre-Australian Open to use to get ready for 2011. Though that won’t prevent me from screaming like a school girl if I see him on court again this year.

- How about Pico’s result in Shanghai? Great cap on what’s been a tough, injury dinged year for him. Tons of points that really set him up nicely going into 2011.

- Wertheim dug into TV coverage in his mailbag, but I still think there are more issues to be address in terms of attendance in Shanghai, as well as many of these post-USO tournaments. Why bother trying to find audiences in the United States etc. if you can’t even sell the tournament to the people living there?

- These things are fun. I wouldn’t be horrendously against people sending in questions, if they’ve got them/care what I have to say/will read the answers. Feel free to comment on this post, e-mail me at brofuju@hotmail.com, or tweet me. Just let me know you want it for this segment and I’ll bring it up the next time I do it.

The Doha Dilemma

Posted by Brodie under: London, YEC

21 Oct 2010

Serena hurt herself again. Venus is on crutches. JJ is sick and tired (literally). Elena has a screwed up foot. Justine can’t step in, she’s still out.

What the hell are we doing here people?!

It’s supposed to be the next biggest event to the slams. The showcase of your greatest players. Now, instead of having trouble attracting fans, you can’t even attract the players. Not to mention, they sometimes get hurt once they get there anyway (Ana, 2008, Dinara, Caro, 2009).

It’s a tricky situation, and no option is easy. I’ve got a bit of a crazy one, it’s not do nothing or move it back to New York, but it might work.

Move it to the beginning of the year.

Huh?

Yeah, you heard me. This can apply for the ATP too. Think about it. It’s the end of the season. Players are exhausted, injured. For the guys, they’re even more exhausted and have to play two Masters tournaments post USO. Poor Nole has to play Davis Cup and in London. There’s a lot of points and money at stake, sure, but how much do players really want to have to battle it out against the toughest opponents in the world at the end of the year when they want to go home?

What about players at the beginning of the year? It’s quite the opposite. They want to get ready for Australia, they want to get some matches in, they want to get rolling. They’re rested and healthy. Hell, top guys have been playing exhibitions so they can get in match play against top guys by-passing having to play much lower ranked players.

Why not throw them the carrot of all those points (and cash) and have them go at it?

I think us sports watching folk have it in our brains that all seasons must come to an end with a bang. The final series, the final round, the final game. There should be nobody but the best standing. Other than the obvious fact that tennis isn’t a team sport, how necessary is that for a season that lasts longer than any others? How bad does Rafa really want those 1500 points when he already knows he’s the year end number 1? Does Kolya winning the WTF mean that he was the greatest player of 2009?

Exactly. Instead of quietly kicking off the tennis season with events like Brisbane, Hopman Cup, or non-tour exhibitions, why not start with a bang? Get your best players together and say “this is what we’re all about, and this is why you should watch tennis this year.” Then follow it up with the Australian Open.

It’s food for thought. I understand there are a lot of hoops to jump through here. “Is it fair to have them play in London and then fly to Australia?” “Does that mean all the WTF/YECs will be held in Australia now?” “What if someone, like Fed, doesn’t want to play matches before the Australian Open?” All fair points. But I also don’t think a sick and tired JJ wants to have to grind herself into the ground at the end of the year in front of a half empty stadium against the best players out there. There’s probably some marketing issues too (though I can’t imagine London selling out in December and comparatively half empty in January).

In all honesty, this blog has been lonely, and this is the first time I’ve written something with some serious opinion behind it. I’d love to read some comments.

I’m A Big Kid Now

Posted by Ana under: Ana, Linz

14 Oct 2010

Ana

After Serena’s withdrawal, Ana accepted a very late WC for Linz. I wasn’t expecting that, but considering her good run in Beijing it made sense to take advantage of that. As an Ana fan this tournament brings back good memories for me, so I hope things can work as well as they did the last time she played there. Ana only played yesterday so there was enough time to adjust to the different conditions.

Ana’s first opponent was her good friend Sorana Cirstea. She crushed her “twin” 6-2, 6-0. The 2nd set lasted only 12 minutes. It was done before I even had the time to get into it. There’s not a lot to say. It was an overwhelming victory and the Serbian was close of making history losing just 3 points in the 2nd set. After the match Ana was cute (as usual) while talking about Sorana: “I’m very happy with how I played but I didn’t enjoy this victory as much as normal because Sorana is a very good friend of mine, (..) She definitely didn’t do herself justice today, she can play much better, and I hope to see her rise in the rankings.” Yes, BFFs forever.

Ana reaches QF after beating Zahlavova Strycova in straight sets. This match was hilarious. Not for the tennis itself, but for what happened in the 2nd game of the first set. Ana started the match serving and held comfortably. So far, so good. Let the weirdness begin. She felt sick and asked the umpire to take the bathroom break and was told that she could only use it in her own time. Anyways, I think Ana didn’t understand that and still went. Poor girl, just ran as fast as she could to the locker room. Of course ES people went after her and stood there just waiting for her to come out. When she returned to the court she was served with a four-point penalty (for each 20 seconds), the equivalent of a game. So, basically she lost that game without even playing it. Back on serve and the score was 1-all.

You cannot believe how much I laughed with this episode. It was truly hilarious.

Anyways, good thing about it is that Ana didn’t let that get to her and played like it never happened. She was super focused and calm. Her serve worked perfectly (goodbye recurrent wonky ball toss!!) and she used the forehand as much as she could. Of course there’s always room for improvement but it’s impossible to even try to compare Ana’s game now and how it was months ago. She’s more confident in her shots, executing her game plan and moving really well on court, showing nice foot work. God bless Heinz and Marija.

After the match Ana showed once again how awesome she is and joked about the situation: “Don’t ever have yogurt before you have to play! (…) You learn something new, even when you think you know it all!”

At last, I really hope Ana keeps being coached by Heinz next year. He has been doing an amazing job with her and it would be a shame if they parted ways. So, we’ll see how things work out. Fingers crossed. (Don’t be dumb, Ana. Please.)

Not This Shit Again

Posted by Ana under: Dick, Shanghai

14 Oct 2010

Andy Roddick

If I were Andy Roddick, I’d be scared of playing in Shanghai again. Seriously.

You guys remember how this tournament went for him last year? I’ll remind you. He injured his knee against Wawrinka and was out for the rest of the season missing the World Tour Finals.

I was hoping (I bet he was too) this year would be different. It started well. Andy cruised in the 1st round due to Kohls’ retirement. I didn’t watch his match but he was up a set when he got injured. He received medical treatment first and returned to the court with his right thigh taped. Unfortunately he couldn’t move properly and was forced to retire against Garcia-Lopez.

Same tournament. Same court.

After the match Roddick said “The past couple of days in practice, I feel like I’ve been kind of moving like an elephant, kind of slow, just trying to protect it,” Roddick said. “I strained it a little bit worse (today), and it was to the point where moving at all felt like I was getting stabbed in the leg. It’s really tough to get hurt or tougher to get hurt up a set and a break.”

This is a big blow in his bid to qualify to London and finish the year in the Top 10 for the ninth consecutive season. No one knows how serious this injury is or if it will keep him away for long. Roddick hopes to come back in time for Basel.

I feel really bad for him. Get well soon, Andy.

Rollin’ in China

Posted by Ana under: Shanghai

14 Oct 2010

Nole

Apart from Rafa’s loss everything went like expected in Shanghai.

Federer, Muzz, Nole, Jo and Pico scored straight set wins.
It was Nole’s 50th win of the year. He absolutely crushed Richie. You take out the heat and the Serbian seems a completely different player. By reaching quarterfinals Muzz qualified for London. Pico is in his 2nd QF in Masters 1000 Event this year. I always have the same feeling when watching Fed coming back after being absent for a while…he never left. Still makes tennis look effortless. Finally, I didn’t expect Jo to be this strong after so much time away. I missed him and I’m happy he’s healthy again.

Tomas lost to Garcia-Lopez, but I can’t say I was totally surprised because he’s been sick for the past days. Surprisingly, GarLo is only Spaniard left in the draw.

Soderling beat Ferrer in straight sets, avenging last week defeat in Beijing. It was a tight match match with a few breaks of serve. The Swedish prevailed at the end and is close to qualify for the WTF for the 2nd time.

Quarterfinal matches promise to be at least interesting. I’ll try not to miss Soderling vs Federer and Muzz vs Tsonga.

On a side note. What the hell is wrong with people? You have a Masters 1000 Event with the entire Top 20 and there’s no one in the stands. They are empty most of the time. Get yourself together, for reals.

Every Match Is Another Story

Posted by Ana under: Shanghai

14 Oct 2010

Melzer

Rafa lost. I know, we’re not very used to those two words combined but sometimes it happens.

Melzer defeated Nadal 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 and played some of the best tennis I’ve ever seen from him. First time he has beaten the Spaniard.
To be honest, at first I was shocked, but then I realized how much Rafa has played in the last couple of months. Going deep in pretty much every tourney he got in. No matter how strong you are, physically or mentally, sometimes it’s just too much. Now he gets to rest until Paris. No need to make any drama out of it. All good in Rafaland.

Anyways, huge props to the Austrian. He was aggressive and completely outplayed Rafa in the 1st set. There’s not much I can say about it. He was simply the best player today. One of things I really appreciated was how he approached the match. It’s always difficult to play against Rafa regardless of the surface but he was fearless and just tried to execute his game plan. There were moments of brilliant tennis. Some of the points Melzer won were the points we’re used to see Rafa winning.

It’s a nice reward for an amazing season. Career high of No. 12 and qualified for the WTF after winning Wimbledon in doubles. He reached his first Grand Slam semifinal in RG. First Austrian to do it since Muster won the title in 1995. Let’s not forget he came back from two sets to love and 0-2 deficit to beat Nole. I guess it’s never to late to make the most of your potential.

I’m just mad because Melzer’s win will prevent us from Rafa vs Pico quarterfinal and that’s just not right.

14 Oct 2010

Caro, Nole and Rafa

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here. Brodie has a lot of work right now, so we thought I could help and give the blog some love. There’s a lot of catch up to do, so let’s get this thing started.

First of all, congrats to Caro for winning Beijing and being the new No 1. Although I’m not her biggest fan, it is deserved. She’s been the most consistent WTA player and it paid off. Sunshine hasn’t lost a final since IW. That’s saying a lot, right? Also, I’m happy for Bepa. Great results in the 2nd half of the season.

Next, I’m glad Nole got to defend his title in Beijing. I think the USO was a turning point so I’m hoping for good things to happen for the remaining of the season. Last but not least, Rafa won the 7th title of the season in Tokyo after beating Monfils in straight sets. What else can I say? I hope you have energy left for London.

Next stop, Shanghai!

Let The Good Times Roll

Posted by Brodie under: Ana, Beijing, Caro

8 Oct 2010

New number 1. Former number 1. A match made in heaven. Or my dreams. Or Beijing. Or my pants. Not important.

I need to start with an apology. Being back at school, having a ton of stuff to do, and then trying to watch tennis when I’m supposed to be getting precious (often little) sleep is a hell of a task to ask. So I haven’t watched much tennis. I’m pretty excited for tennis to return to Europe and a much more manageable time difference for me.

Anyway, it was damn good to see Ana playing like that. I think it would be easy to say that “she hasn’t been playing aggressively and she finally is.” I think she’s been playing aggressively at points, and missing, and then holding back, at least for a lot of this season. It’s caused frustration and then caution. Now she’e letting it rip and earlier, and it’s working.

Still a tough task when you come up against the brick wall that is Caro, and on such a fast surface you’ve got to let it rip early or else she’ll just simply outlast you. Ana’s serve wasn’t particularly magical either, which didn’t exactly help.

Regardless, Ana has put herself in position to be seeded come the AO and you’ve got to feel that if she can get some actual consistency going (which seems more and more likely) that it might actually be a slam worth looking forward to if you’re an Ana fan. All aboard!

The Changeover Podcast:

Episode #56 – Indian Wells Wrap