Tennis-X Barbs: Grass is Greener for Spaniards…and Slower
by Staff | June 23rd, 2008, 1:23 am

Ferrer Wins Netherlands Grasscourt Title

Think nothing radical has changed in the realm of grasscourt tennis?

Grasscourt organizers have slowed the surface to ridiculous lengths in order to appease critics who though the surface was too fast and favored big servers. Now the pendulum has swing in the other direction. Last week Rafael Nadal became the first Spaniard to win on grass in 36 years. A week later, baseline wall David Ferrer, another Spaniard, takes home the ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands title with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Frenchman Marc Gicquel.
Thai qualifier Tamarine Tanasugarn won the women’s half of the event, defeating No. 3 seed Dinara Safina 7-5, 6-3.

Ferrer won the battle of long baseline rallies on the Dutch lawns.

“I think this proves that we Spaniards can play well on grass,” Ferrer said. “This was my first appearance here and it’s great to win the title. This title means a lot to me, since it’s my first title on a grass court. It also gives me more confidence for Wimbledon.”

Radwanska Wins Eastbourne Grass Title

Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska upped her Wimbledon stock Saturday with a 6-4, 6-7(11), 6-4 win over former Top 10er Nadia Petrova in the final of the Eastbourne International Women’s Open.

It was the third title of the year for Radwanska, putting her in class with three-time time title winners Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova.

Karlovic Serves Way to Nottingham Title Over Spaniard

Croat “Dr.” Ivo Karlovic successfully defended his Nottingham Open title Saturday with a 7-5, 6-7(4), 7-6(8) victory over Spaniard Fernando Verdasco.

Due to rain the final was moved indoors to the City of Nottingham Tennis Centre, making Karlovic the second player to win the title indoors after Greg Rusedski in 1997.

Sampras Slams Mouthy Rios in Senior Sao Paulo Final

Pete Sampras handled Marcelo Rios 6-2, 7-6(5) in a battle of former No. 1s in the Sao Paulo final to win his first title on the BlackRock Tour of Champions.

Rios finished No. 1 on the Blackrock Senior Tour last year, yet ran up against Sampras on one of his better surfaces. Last year Rios talked up the beating he gave John McEnroe prior to facing the fellow world No. 1.

“Pete is playing very good tennis and it was hard to beat him as his serve is so big,” Rios said. “I hope to have other chances to play him. On this surface it is obvious that he has a big advantage but in the future I hope to have a second shot at him.”

Hey Marcelo, don’t hold your breath waiting for Pete to take appearance money to play an event against you on clay.

Monday Wimbledon Schedule Matches of Note

(1) Roger Federer vs. Dominik Hrbaty, (7) David Nalbandian vs. Frank Dancevic, (15) Fernando Gonzalez vs. Robby Ginepri, (32) Michael Llodra vs. Mario Ancic, (21) Juan Carlos Ferrero vs. Sam Querrey, and (30) Gael Monfils vs. Chris Guccione.

(1) Ana Ivanovic vs. Rossana De los Rios, Kaia Kanepi vs. (6) Serena Williams, (29) Amelie Mauresmo vs. Playboy bunny Ashley Harkleroad, and Vera Dushevina vs. (19) Maria Kirilenko in an all-Russian.

Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova says she could win on grass if it wasn’t for her — brain: “Grass has never been my favorite surface. I have to change so much for it but I’m improving. Everyone’s game is different on it and we just have to adapt. Every year I push myself more and try new things but my biggest opponent is my mind. You can train your mind but it is difficult for me as I have many ups and downs.”…

Wimbledon pulls on the women’s side: Tatiana Golovin (back), Laura Granville (left hand), Karin Knapp (ill), Anne Kremer (right wrist), Akiko Morigami (left knee), Anastasia Pivovarova (abdominal), Ahsha Rolle (back), Maria Emilia Salerni (foot), Julia Schruff (ill), Meghann Shaughnessy (knee), and Meilen Tu (hip)…

After receiving short shrift for the last couple years, the ATP players have finally gathered for a mini-revolt, electing the top three players, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic to the ATP Player Council. The three players availing themselves is a result of ATP Chairman Etienne de Villiers ignoring the ‘player voice’ and operating over the years without player consultation. “I think it’s fantastic for the sport,” Djokovic said shortly before the vote that could put de Villier’s job in jeopardy. “We’re changing the face, changing the picture of everything in general.” One face that will have to be changed, and No. 1 for the new Player Council, is the ATP being sued for $76 million for demoting the Hamburg event from Masters Series status. If the ATP loses the July court case it will likely mean bankruptcy for the men’s tour…

From the Times Online: “Eight matches at Wimbledon have been reported to the tennis authorities on suspicion that their results have been fixed by professional gambling syndicates. The matches are named in a dossier compiled by leading bookmaking companies, which monitor suspect betting patterns and players thought to be willing to throw games. Four of the matches are from last year’s men’s singles at Wimbledon and involve foreign players who each lost by three sets.”…

The Guarian writes that even if the U.S. has no champions, it’s alright because the U.S. can adopt European champions: “Washington-based Micky Lawler, of the management group Octagon, whose clients include Amelie Mauresmo, Jelena Jankovic and Elena Dementieva, says the failure of US players to win the big tournaments is less of a problem than it would have been a few years ago. She argues that, while the US has no intention of giving up on trying to produce winners of the major tournaments, Americans are quite happy engaging with the modern champions such as Russia’s Sharapova and Ivanovic of Serbia, because they transcend borders. She gives as an example the interest generated in America by Ivanovic when she won the French Open two weeks ago.”…

Tennis writer Charlie Bricker on Sam Querrey: “This, too, was a Sam Querrey moment: A year ago, he pulled out of a grass-court tournament in Nottingham, England, a week before Wimbledon, announcing he had an ankle injury. “Um…” he began haltingly a few days ago. “Actually, I just wanted to go golfing in Scotland. It was great. St. Andrews. It was raining, 50 degrees, 50-m.p.h. winds. But you have to play it. I think I shot a 110 or a 112, but it was really cool.”…

New ATP Player Council member and U.S. TV commentator Justin Gimelstob speaking to a D.C. radio show on Anna Kournikova: “Hate’s a very strong word. I just despise her to the maximum level, right below hate. I think she falls into the Marcelo Rios ‘Scumbag’ category….And this whole bluff about her retiring because of her back? She had the yips on her serve, she can’t get her serve on the court. Wait until you see on July 23, she’s gonna be serving 40 miles an hour and I’m gonna be just plugging it down her throat…We do exhibitions together and I’ll mock her, and make fun of her. I’ll just make her know that she’s stupid…I’m sure she’ll rue the day that she has to come here and actually share space with me…I have no attraction to her, because she’s such a douche…I really have no interest in her. I wouldn’t mind having my younger brother, who’s kind of a stud, nail her and then reap the benefits of that.”

You Might Like:
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Novak Djokovic: Grigor Dimitrov Is Undefeated On Grass, So He’s The Player To Beat!
Are The Wimbledon Courts Slower Now Than Before? Head Groundskeeper Says No
Real Grass Calling for U.S. Hosting Spain in Davis Cup Quarterfinals

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18 Comments for Tennis-X Barbs: Grass is Greener for Spaniards…and Slower

Shital Green Says:

It has been some time since I said something mind twisting. Here you go: Get rid of grass or allocate 20-25% of the ATP tournaments to it. I said this before and I am saying it again: We either need 4 Masters plus 8 Internationals on grass or get rid of grass if you can not afford to maintain it as it used to be 20 years ago. ATP has more money and better technology today than it had in the past. What’s the problem?
In stead of turning grass courts into semi-clay courts, get rid of clay courts, too. The slow surface doesn’t even match the fast pace world that we live in. I don’t really care that much about slow surfaces. I don’t even play on clay and grass. We can improve on hard and carpet and make them more friendly. Tennis has to adjust to the changing time and technology.

freakyfrites Says:

You guys make a really good point about the grass and the Spaniards. I didn’t even think how weird it was that both Rafa and David have won grass court tournys in the past couple weeks. But now I’m thinking “whoooahhh, doooood!”

Let the conspiracy theories begin!

NachoF Says:

Conspiracy theory: “Sampras is funding this whole thing to avoid Federer from breaking his records at Wimbledon and overall grand slam count”.

Tote Tennis Pro Says:

Well i would say wait and see.

Rafa is clearly playing brilliant tennis – probably the best base line tennis ever, and therefore there is no reason why he can’t win Queens playing like that.

That Ferrer won a base line battle, on grass, is worrying, but it was only Holland, and the big guns weren’t all out.

Lets see what happens next week…

I like tennis bullies not tennis chauvanists like gimelstob Says:

Gimelstob should be fired from his ATP post for making such sexist and derogatory comments about a fellow tennis player like that. It was completely out of line and unprofessional.

Voicemale1 Says:

Shital Green:

So, tennis should get rid of clay and grass because YOU don’t like it or play on it?

Who cares what you like?

Hard court tennis is brain-less tennis. It’s nothing more than glorified Ping Pong, only on a larger scale. Hard Court Tennis is merely about reaction – it requires little or no thought at all – in fact it has little to do with constructing a point; just stick the racquet out and hope for the best when you do. Hard courts are about nothing but mindless ball bashing in a Best of 3 Format (which is why Americans do so well on them). In a Best of 5 it’s about who’s body hasn’t broken down yet.

Let’s get rid of hard courts instead.

Katrix Says:

The memory of the 2001 match between Federer and Sampras, both beautiful in their aggressive style of play and exquisite shot-making is so fresh in my mind that it is painful to see these long baseline duels on the once quickest major! Apparently the US Open is faster than Wimbledon now – little wonder that the bicep-flaunting Spaniard has barely made his presence felt there.

I have nothing against baseline rallying Spaniards but I really do think for the good of the sport, such defensive counter-punching should be confined to the dirt. If anything, the grass-court season needs to be extended, so tennis fans can savor the unique attacking style where strategy and shot-making are at their best.

And how about having one of the US Open series tourneys at Madison Square garden – the fastest court in possibly the fastest city on earth?

JohnHecter Says:

Gimelstob is a douchebag, i’m a man and even i take offense of his words… a classic cocky american, …and this guy is supposed to be the one who represents the players of the atp?… nice choice…

JCF Says:

Thank you for finally paragraphing the quotes and barbs section. It’s much more readable than the wall of text it used to be.

And Justin Gimelstob is a first class prick. He doesn’t have to like Anna (I don’t), and he’s allowed to criticize her, but the comments he used were uncalled for and crossed the line.

JCF Says:

And is the ATP really that poor that losing a $76 million suit would bankrupt them?

jane Says:

People have been poo-pooing women’s tennis lately, but I think there’s an interesting field: Ana Ivanovic looked good today & she’s improving constantly; Sharapova is likely hungry, as are the two Williams sisters, then there’s Jankovic too, and maybe even Davenport & Radwanska as dark horses. Anyhow, I like the openness of the women’s field here. I just hope no Bartoli’s show up – lol.

Skorocel Says:

JCF said:

“And is the ATP really that poor that losing a $76 million suit would bankrupt them?”

I remember when cca 5 years ago, a certain well-known German boxer named Graciano Rocchigiani won a $30 million lawsuit against WBC (World Boxing Council; the premier governing body in professional boxing)… The WBC immediately declared bankruptcy, but luckily for them, they later agreed on a undisclosed (much lesser) sum with the boxer…

Ra Says:


“The memory of the 2001 match between Federer and Sampras, both beautiful in their aggressive style of play and exquisite shot-making is so fresh in my mind that it is painful to see these long baseline duels on the once quickest major!”

I’m with you 100% on this. It’s not like I’d be opposed to seeing slow grass tournaments, but I wish Wimbledon tennis still looked more like Wimbledon tennis.

Also, the players keep talking about different courts being faster or slower than the others at SW19, and I think it’s a shame that center court isn’t the fastest of the bunch (if there has to be so much noticeable variation).

bobby Says:

When rafa wins grass title it becomes slower,but when federer wins on the same court,it becomes faster.What a hypocrisy.Well, i will defenitely not watch tennis if it only consists of service,which is what sometimes i feel when watching ace machines in action.After long time i have started to watch tennis again for last 3-4 years because of the allround game which Federer and Nadal brings.

jan Says:

Gimelstob speaks like a jilted lover, not a representative of a professional organization. But what would he know about how to conduct himself, or tennis for that matter. He has achieved less than the ‘hated’ Anna in tennis by any measurement.I cannot recall a quarter final appearance anywhere, a memorable match, an upset of a higher ranked player (by Gimelstob). As for money earned, can he coach or blog, will anyone pay good money to hear his bitter voice? Or should I just chalk ot up to being an Ugly American. I hardly see people from other countries brazenly venting in public about one of their own in sport? Could Gimelstob be running for office anywhere? That is the only possible explanation for his statements!

UTP Says:

I wouldnt be too surprised if Ferrer surprises the critics…he has more artillery than just backcourt tennis….I think he may be the dark horse at wimbledon this year….

Ra Says:


I can’t comment on any other tournaments, but that the grass has gotten slower at Wimbledon is an absolute fact regardless of who is winning.


Yes, Gimelstob is American, and yes, his comments are ugly, but contrary to what your media may be telling you, The US of A does not hold exclusive claims to “Ugly” people. If you think that all the citizens of the U.S. are happy with our government, international politics, media, propaganda, military action, level of international awareness, state of public education, etc., you are dead wrong. I don’t know where you are from, but if I am to judge from your “Ugly American” comment, I might end up thinking your country is full of ignorant people that serve to perpetuate hatred and prejudice through gross generalization. I, however, am not inclined to do so. Please don’t make it any harder for those of us who already feel misrepresented to the world; We are already fighting an uphill battle.

Katrix Says:

Ra, totally. I believe the gods of grass court tennis – including Sampras ;) – are hurting when they see long cross court rallies at Wimbledon.

I’m wondering if the different courts have something to do with how much tennis is played there in the duration of the championship – you can visibly see the dirt at the baseline due to the wearing of the grass after a few days of play.

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