Archive for the ‘Ana’ Category

12 Jan 2011

Ana Ivanovic Practice

Can we all just be serious for a minute? This is the most fit Ana Ivanovic has looked in… oh, I dunno… Forever?

It was a less than ideal start to the season for Ana, who kicked off kicking ass in Hopman Cup, but unfortunately busted an ab and was forced to withdraw from the tournament as well as Sydney. The good news? Besides being in presumably solid form both physically and game-wise, she’s in the top 32 and will be seeded for AO, meaning she will avoid a brutal first couple of rounds and should be able to work her way into the tournament.

Beyond that, Ana is clearly busting some ass (thanks, Leather!) and has winning on the brain this 2011. If Melbourne doesn’t work out perfectly, that’s ok. Here’s hoping for some consistent results from Ana in 2011.

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.)

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!

To Wish Impossible Things

Posted by Ana under: Ana, Kimmy, USO

5 Sep 2010

Kim and Ana

The two nicest players on tour will face each other in hours. This is definitely going to be one of the toughest matches for me. I can’t deliberately root against one of them so, I’m just going to sit, enjoy and be happy for whoever wins it.

They were great for each other on their pressers. Kim was asked about Ana and here’s what she said: “She and I are good friends, and I’m happy to see her doing well again. I followed her very closely obviously when I wasn’t playing, and saw her win the French Open and kind of from there just lost it a little bit. You know, had some injuries as well when I played her in Cincinnati in the semifinals. I mean, the first three games we played I think were pretty good tennis so far, so, you know, I hope she wins and that we can kind of have a rematch there.”

Ana played after, so on her presser the journos told her what Kim had said about her, Ana smiled and answered: “That’s really nice to hear, because she is such a nice person. I do, ever since I started on tour, I thought highly of her and really admired her for everything she achieved. I still do. I have great respect for her. It’s true also when I was struggling, she was messaging me. She was very supportive. That’s really rare and really nice to see. In those times, you know who your friends are. She’s definitely a nice girl. We always have a nice time catching up. So it’s going to be fun.”

How can you not love them? So, can they both win, please?

Dare To Dream

Posted by Ana under: Ana, USO

3 Sep 2010

Ana

Ana won. Again. Into the 3r round after kicking Zheng’s ass.

What can I say? I am so pleased and proud. It’s great to have one of my favorite players doing good again after such a slump. There was a time I wasn’t sure if Ana was ever going to come back. Not because she wasn’t good enough or didn’t have the game but I felt she wasn’t totally aware of the magnitude of the problem. I always thought it was all mental and once she got that fixed, things would get better. It took a while. A lot of first round losses, many tears and sleepless nights, but she’s here now. And hopefully back for good.

She took out Zheng in 56 minutes. And it was AWESOME. If you follow Ana closely and watched her match, you know what I mean. She still needs to improve, but her fitness is much better, she’s more relaxed and with the serve working well, all of her game flows. There’re still a few wonky ball tosses but overall I’m impressed.

She converted 5/6 break points and was pretty much dictacting every point. The only time I noticed some nervousness from her was at 5-1 and serving for the set. She got broken but when she had the chance again, she closed out the set. From that moment on, Zheng really couldn’t do much. Ana was hitting winners, fist pumping like crazy (she’s so cute) and being all happy on court.

I honestly couldn’t stop smiling during the entire match. It’s amazing what a good team can do. Props to Heinz and Marija for the good work. It’s paying off. Btw, have any of you seen her interviews to ESPN and ES? Dear God, how adorbz was she?

I know I may look like an idiot being this happy, but the truth is, from now on, Ana can only go up. She already defended all the points until the end of the season! AJDE!!!

You Were Missed, Please Be Back

Posted by Ana under: Ana, USO

31 Aug 2010

Ana

Ana beat Makarova 6-3, 6-2.

Am I dreaming? A straight sets win. Not a single break point faced. Solid serve. Totally committed. I am so happy.

I’ve said this before, but this time I honestly feel Ana is coming back. Heinz and her new fitness coach were the best thing that happened in the last months. I used to feel Ana was sad on court, not enjoying, etc. Probably like most of her fans. That totally changed. She seems comfortable and confident in most of her shots and that is so nice to see. Also, how funny is that this is happening in USO? She usually doesn’t have great results there. It might be a sign.

She will face Zheng tomorrow. In my opinion, if Ana remains focused and calm she has a great shot of winning. Just breathe, girl. There’s still some ankle pain but it’s getting better.

Have you guys noticed how much she’s been smiling lately? Tennis needs her. It’s as simple as that.

Bits And Pieces

Posted by Brodie under: Ana, Doubles, New Haven, Nole, Pico, Rafa, Toronto

5 Aug 2010

Sad face. If I were going to Toronto, this probably would have ruined my day. Great that he’s gonna be back for Cincy and USO though. I miss him dearly, obviously.

I also love how he says he’s “not ready to Toronto” like it’s a dance. “Alright everybody… DO THE TORONTO! CHA CHA CHA!”

Le win! Word on the Twitter street is that Nole asked Rafa around Wimbledon. It’s also the first time the top 2 ranked men have teamed up since 1974. For those who are going to be in Toronto, I really recommend heading out to this. They’ll likely be stuck on the smaller grand stand, which means that you can get close, front row seats if you go early, and regardless of what type of ticket you have. Almost all of my pics of doubles on the MTR Facebook page are from that court, and you can be damn close. Really don’t see them getting on centre court early in the week, though I suppose it’s possible with that kind of star power.

And lastly, according to the always fantastic OnTheBaseline, Ana has accepted a wildcard into New Haven. That will make it 6 tournaments in a row for her, once she hits the US Open. Good move. The girl is playing well, and only seems to be improving. She seems to be only a few points or a game or two there from nabbing a couple big wins. Assuming that she’s still playing Montreal. Hoping a few wins in the qualies there will give her some confidence there and going into New Haven and eventually USO. Do it up.

2 Aug 2010

Who doesn’t love waking up to nice things? It’s always nice to sit down at the computer in the morning with a nice coffee, but I had no idea what giddy love was awaiting me. Thanks, @MercuryInsOpen, you rule. They hit together under the lights of Stanford last Sunday, and now are besties. Guess they couldn’t wait to see each other in San Diego.

Pretty sure I’m tiling this as my wallpaper. Like, in my bedroom, not my computer.

We’re Not Gonna Take It

Posted by Brodie under: Ana, Montreal

20 Jul 2010

For those who haven’t heard, the tennis world has been pretty ablaze (I mean hell, there’s nothing else going on) with the news originally shared by Stephanie Myles that Ana will not be receiving a wildcard into Montreal and instead will have to play the qualifying for the first time in… oh, probably forever.

Two particular articles have been focused on, the Tom Tebutt one, and the Stephanie Myles one (the actual newspaper article is a bit more trimmed down, but since the blog post carries more info, I’ll go with that one). Here’s what I think.

In case you don’t know, like both of the writers of the above articles, I’m a Canadian. I’m also quite the huge Ana fan.

Originally, I thought people were over reacting. This is my original reaction to about 90% of situations where tons of people rapidly freak out over a complicated issue. Hold your horses. Let’s think this through.

And so I did. And then I became angry. Ana is a grand slam champ, and a former number 1. She’s a household name, a great personality, and great for the tour and surely the tournament. And… hey, what the fuck?! She won the tournament in 2006!

But a day or two away from it, some more reading on the issue, and I’ve started to change my mind. Before we all freak out, let’s take some time to do away with a couple of things from the Tebutt article.

First off, he says this: “Sharapova, Venus, Clijsters, Jankovic and Safina are all scheduled to play in Cincinnati the week before the Rogers Cup. Considering the current attrition rate among players, there is no guarantee all of them will make it to Montreal. In that case, Ivanovic’s high-profile stature could become a prized asset for the tournament.” Um, no. 1) All four semifinalists of Cincy in 2009 played Toronto. One won it (Elena) and the Cincy champion, JJ, made the quarters in Toronto. 2) The only names missing from Montreal are Serena and Henin. Not exactly nobodys, sure, but it’s because of injury, and anyone attending the tournament knows that the best players in women’s tennis are going to be there. And it’s not like last years champ, Dementieva, or even another slam winner, Schiavone, are total unknowns.

In other words, tournaments like Stanford and San Diego need players who give name recognition. Montreal does not.

A history of wildcards in Canada does not fall on the side of Ana either. Only one wildcard has been given to a non-Canadian in the past four years; Kim last year. Kim got that because she hadn’t been playing, and thus didn’t even have a ranking when she got it. Understandable.

I think where people are getting confused with the actual organization of this tournament. The tournament is organized by Tennis Canada, and Tennis Canada has a very strong presence at the tournament. If you take a look at the Tennis Canada website, you’ll see its “mission is to lead the growth, promotion, and and showcasing of the sport of tennis in Canada…”

The point isn’t that the tournament is snubbing a former champion. Instead Tennis Canada will likely give Canadian Stephanie Dubois, a native of nearby Laval, Quebec. She has a total of $500k in career prize money, whereas Ana has over $7 million. She even reached the third round of the Montreal tournament in 2006 with, yes, a wildcard.

Ana, on the other hand, while being a former champion and big name, has clearly failed to keep her ranking up, nor chosen to play smaller tournaments.

(until this summer) to try and get it back up. Furthermore, she’s not likely to be an automatic centre court selection this year, unlike last year in Toronto where she played Rybarikova on centre court in the first round. Dubois, a hometown girl, could easily be slotted into an opening night match (remember, not everyone who goes to big tennis tournaments is a tennis nerd).

Hell, I’m not asking you to change your mind and agree with this decision. I’m pretty upset that Ana has gotten the snub too, and you can bet that the tournament isn’t thrilled to have to make such a decision. At the same time, this may be a blessing in disguise for Ana, who will have

to get some wins under her belt if she wants to enter the main draw, and you can bet she’ll get great treatment, and feel comfortable on centre court for the quallies.

So spaz all you want Ana KADs. I hear you. But realize where and how this decision came to be made, and that at the end of the day, Ana’s play is what has created this situation to begin with.

Well That Was Fun

Posted by Brodie under: Ana, MJMS, Rome

7 May 2010

God damn.

MJMJS AKA Kamikaze brought some drop shots, some net play, and some goofiness for a 6-4, 6-2 win over Ms. Resurgence. Fine. Ruin all our fun.

I actually thought Ana would be fine, even after the first set. I’ve seen players be confused by Kamikaze, figure her out, and then it was basically game over. Also saw Serena beat her at the USO where she basically mindlessly hammered the ball and won by out muscling her. No can do for Ana though, and MJMS was on her game. Whatever “her game” is.

Still, a fantastic week for Ana, obviously, who has turned her loud ajdeing, fist pumping ways into a quiet confidence, which is really the best kind, and is a fantastic sign going into Madrid. Which as many have heard, is going to be kind of tricky. But more on that later. It’s good news, people. Here’s hoping Ana is back.

The Changeover Podcast:

Episode #56 – Indian Wells Wrap