Tennis-X Notes: Argentine Fight Club; Mauresmo Not Done
by Staff | November 25th, 2008, 10:51 am
  • 140 Comments

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS

29-year-old former No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo says she will give it another shot in 2009 after this year contemplating retirement. “I was not that far from packing it all in because I was so far away from getting back to the level that I wanted to play at,” Mauresmo told L’Equipe sports daily. “But I am not the kind to take hasty decisions and so I though it over and decided to continue playing. I want to prove to myself that I am strong enough to get back to my best form. I am not too much interested in where I am in the rankings but I want to be able to win tournaments again. My last title was in Antwerp in 2007 and quite frankly I miss all that. I really want to once again be playing in big tournaments feeling that I can win them by beating the best players…For the moment I am not looking past next year. It all depends on how it goes. If it is a repeat of what happened in 2008, that will be it for me. But if I can succeed to do what I have set out to do we will see.”…


Jim Courier receives a $100,000 bonus for finishing atop the rankings of his own Outback Champions Series senior tour…

John McEnroe says the men’s game is where all the personality in pro tennis is nowadays: “Personally, I think over the last five years the men’s game has totally eclipsed the women’s game as far as personalities go. A lot of women have retired. Obviously the Williams sisters, when they are motivated, they are probably the two best players in the world and create interest. But there’s more personality among the men. I think it was disguised for a while because they thought it was getting out of control with the likes of me and (Jimmy) Connors. But nowadays, I think at the US Open you saw a lot of emotion come out of Roger, showing a side you hadn’t seen as much, and there’s Nadal, Murray, Djokovic and even (Jo-Wilfried) Tsonga, for example. There’s a number of players who I think actually show quite a bit of personality.”…

If China is so “crazy for tennis” as one ESPN writer put it, how come there were so many empty seats at the Masters Cup matches, even the final? Fans are so crazy they forgot to go to the event?…

Serena and Venus Williams and Serbs Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic will face off in a one-night only single elimination exhibition event, the “BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup,” on March 2 at Madison Square Garden, to be telecast live on HBO beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET…

Part-time NYC resident Andy Roddick is partnering with the Food Bank For New York City in an effort to raise funds and reach a minimum donation of $10,000 to benefit the Food Bank for New York City. Roddick is raising funds through his AndyRoddick.com website…

More than 20% of WTA Tour events are lacking a title sponsor entering 2009, according to USA Today…

ATP Europe chief executive Andy Anson is leaving the organization as England’s Football Association has hired him to lead its bid committee to host the 2018 World Cup…

Jim Courier topped Stefan Edberg for the Dubai seniors title…

The Asian Tennis Federation has put their Asian-only tennis tour on hold since many of the eight countries involved have failed to commit their top players…

Goran Ivanisevic has been forced to withdraw from the BlackRock Masters Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall in London because he requires knee surgery…

Reports are that Argentines David Nalbandian and Juan Martin Del Potro almost came to blows in the locker room after losing to Spain in the Davis Cup final…


Also Check Out:
Amelie Mauresmo Retires
Andy Murray Has Hired Amelie Mauresmo As His New Coach For The Grass Season
Dementieva Heads Paris; WTA Previews
Injured Serena Williams Loses 4th Consecutive Match at Madrid
Tennis-X Notes: Indians Want Paes Out, Mauresmo Retiring?

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140 Comments for Tennis-X Notes: Argentine Fight Club; Mauresmo Not Done

Pete Says:

I used to live in Shanghai. The Qizhong stadium is not close to the downtown area and not accessible by public transportation therefore it’s seen as “too much trouble” by common people to go there and see it. And more importantly, how are you going to get home after the matches if you don’t have a car?

Also, the local Shanghai Sports channel broadcasts all of the singles matches live anyway.


Von Says:

Yes! Go Amelie, I sorely miss her beautiful tennis. I’m so happy she’s remaining on the tour and we’ll be affored the luxury of watching her gracious one-handed BH and serve and volley game.

Great tennis season for Jim Courier. I saw all but one of his matches and he’s still striking the ball as well as some of the present day players. Who said American Tennis is dead? Well, Jim Courier, Johnny Mc, Pete Sampras and Todd Martin would say otherwise. Pity jimmy connors can’t channel all that angst through a more fruitful medium instead of the destructive one he’s pursuing. The devil does find work for idle hands.

It’s just mahvellouzz for those of us who appreciate these older players to be able to see them play. Kudos to the Tennis Channel for increasing their broadcasts and filling the void in TV viewership of present day matches and affording some of us the pleasure of watching the matches of yesteryear of the past champions. Great job TC, keep it up!!

For those of you who can receive the TC, go for it. Change your cable company if you have a choice to receive Verizon FIOS. You’ll be delighted by the quality of the picture and the Tennis Channel is part of their sports package. The $8 per month is worth its weight in gold. If you do take the step, enjoy. No, I don’t get paid to promote TC, but I dearly want to see Tennis flourish in the US, hence my little sales pitch. Do I need to add a disclaimer? Nah.

I mentioned in the TMC thread the noticeable amount of vacant seats at the matches. It seems that attendance was down about 50 percent from previous years. Perhaps the state of the world-wide economy has a huge bearing on that situation, because in the past, the stadium was filled up by out of the country visitors. This year was not so, and it showed.


Kimmi Says:

Amelie, I hope she regains her confidence. I love the way she played at wimbledon the year she won it. She was serving big and her volleys were excellent. Comon Amelie show these ball bashers what real tennis is.


Von Says:

Kimmi:

Hi, where have you been? I mised you. Yes, Amelie is a delight to watch. She can teach the ball-bashers a few techniques. She’s been one of my all-time faves.


Kimmi Says:

Hi Von, I have been away for few days, and another thing is, no tennis for a while…what to do Von, what to doooo ?

I very much envy you for the tennis channel, I am sure it can be useful this time of the year. Well, I guess I just have to wait and soon tennis session will be here again.

I hope for Amelie to come back strong, she is my faves too, it will be tough for her to make this comeback…she has been loosing to almost everybody recently. Since that appendicitis (sp) surgery she never really came back !! Nice to see she still got the believe. Yes, Go amelie.


Von Says:

Kimmi:

Glad to see you back! I feel very badly for you with respect to the lack of tennis — we’re just tennis addicts, that’s what’s the problem. Just think what would happen if they indeed made the season shorter. Everyone would die from “tennis malnutrition”. :P

I earnestly wish I had the power and/or the connections to give everyone the Tennis Channel as a Christmas gift. Tennis cost me big time today. I treated myself for Christmas to the newest top of the line HD/LCD 1080p 24″ monitor that’s been on the market for just one week. Hooray, now live streaming won’t be such a probelm for me. Can’t wait to try out my new toy.

Yes, Amelie did lose her spark after that appendicitis surgery, but I have a feeling she’ll rebound once again and even win some tournaments. She’s got the he most important ingredient — the desire to win. Suddenly the WTA has become more appealing for me once again, and I hope for you as well. :D


Kimmi Says:

Von:”I treated myself for Christmas to the newest top of the line HD/LCD 1080p 24″ monitor that’s been on the market for just one week”

Wow ! 24″ is big, and live streaming would be just perfect. You need to watch a good streaming though like the Atp MS TV, with HD screen it is almost like a real TV. I saw on WTA tour site that next year ATP & WTA will join for live streaming, and they will show lots and lots of tennis. Looking forward to that and will definetly buy it. Enjoy your Xmas gift.


Von Says:

Kimmi:

Thanks for the info on the HD live streaming. According to the write-up, the pictures are supposed to look like “cinema” style. Now more than ever, I’m anxious to receive it.

That’s good news about ATP/WTA joining up for live streaming. It will be a huge boon for the fans/end users. The more competitive live streaming becomes, the better the quality and easier access for viewership. Will the ATP/WTA be selling a package for live streaming when they team up? If so, try to get in on the initial offering, which is always cheaper because they want to attract customers. Goodluck. :P


kamret Says:

“Reports are that Argentines David Nalbandian and Juan Martin Del Potro almost came to blows in the locker room after losing to Spain in the Davis Cup final…”

Are you sure you didn’t get it wrong? I thought it was Nalbandian and Calleri, not Nalbandian and Del Potro! Can anyone confirm?


Von Says:

It was Nalbandian and DelPotro. Calleri was the intercessor — he parted them.


Kimmi Says:

Von: “Will the ATP/WTA be selling a package for live streaming when they team up?”

The answer to this is I don’t know, but on the website they say the website will be launched soon. I guess they will be selling the live streaming same as they did with ATP MSTV. If so, I will make sure to get on initial offering as you suggested. We will see !

Here is the link..

http://www.tennistv.com/page/Home/0,,12543,00.html


Kimmi Says:

Von: “It was Nalbandian and DelPotro”

Very sad Nalbandian would do this, the guy was injured..there is nothing he could do. But hey, what do I know !

Poor Argentina, very high expectations then they end up loosing, must hurt. Try again next year !


Twocents Says:

Pete,

I agree with you that Shanghai TMC having 100% TV coverage on local sports channel was one good reason not to bother to go watch live. I doubt, though, transportation is a real issue: Qizhong is only about 10km to Hongqiao airport, not really far away from metro Shanghai. Only took me 30 min to drive there (in a stoled roadster). There are >3 TMC shuttle buses to take fans from different spots in metro to Qizhong — all free untill this year (only $3 roundtrip). And they operate till all matchtes finish, however late.

It’s >80% occupancy actually for all my sessions in Qizhong and in BJ Olympics. Full house most of the time when Fed’s play. The main reasons for empty seats you see on TV are: first and foremost all these new stadiums are designed with LOTS of well big parted VIP seats and lots of ailes. Even ordinary Joe’s seats are much more spacious. It’s very easy to get around and comfortable. But the stadium appears not nearly packed even when there’s a full house. 2ndly, Qizhong has so many boxe seats, which usually were sold to coporate and government, and finally to VIPs for free. And these VIPs are way too busy to catch a tennis game. In BJ Olympics, 1/3 of the total seats in the statium were empty, and the empty seats were in blocks, obviously booked. Yet, tennis tickets were the hardest to find in town among scalpers. I actually complained to the ITF office outside Tennis Center about empty seats on TV yet no tickets for re-sell. Was told tickets all gone. Back to Shanghai TMC, Qizhong was built with so many box seats cuz Shanghai is the current and next stop for high end goods a la sponsors like Rolex, Mercedes, and Heineke…I heard the new Yankee stadium will have lots lots of box seats too. Money, money, money.

There’re about half million people do play tennis more than twice a week in Shanghai, out of its 15 million population.


Twocents Says:

Von,

Should be easy for me to find you at US-Swiss DC tie: the loudest Roddick supporter.
Of course I’ll support US even though I like both A-Rod and Fed. This past Olympics, we managed to get tickets for 4×100 men’s relay final, in the hope to cheer for US. But US didn’t make it to the final. So we didn’t get to hold up the big US flag. Then, the nice Scottish couple sitting next to us handed my girls a bucket of popcorn (very very long food line at the Brid Nest). The girls ended up holding a giant GB flag along with the couple J). What a pride!

It’s actually business, not tennis, that has been forcing me to travel a lot. I try my best though to align the travel with tennis calendar J). Even without June heat, no point to move to Dallas. No tennis at all. Houston’s had its share of YECs. Maybe I should move to Florida for retirement.


gulu Says:

I’d support Switzerland in the 2009 Davis Cup tie against the US team ! But I’d not mind Rod winning both of his singles match against the Swiss guys ! That’d be great !


gulu Says:

Though Amelie isn’t my one of my favourites,I certainly love her game & that great one handed backhand ! Amelie for sure deserved to win more slams than women like Sharapova ! Now I can only wish Amelie all the best for her final attempts at the slams !


gulu Says:

Many former players have said that Amelie is an underachiever in women’s tennis to which I disagree to disagree !


gulu Says:

That there’s gonna be no top class women tennis player in the pro tour with one handed backhand after Amelie’s retirement next year, it’s gonna be a sad thing for a guy like me who loves this single handed art of tennis !


gulu Says:

Looks like Von & Kimmi are recently suffering from vitamin -T(tennis) deficiency ! May be taking small doses of you-tube tennis capsules daily’s gonna fulfil their vitamin-T requirement ! This is the way I’m keeping my vit-T level intact these days ! ;-)


Skorocel Says:

Mmmm… Lucky girl, this Von :) To tell you the truth, when I think of the current situation re: (any) sports telecast on either the TV or web (which is rather a poor one), that 24 inch LCD would certainly be the last thing on my mind when wanting to watch a live tennis match :), but anyway, I hope you’ll enjoy it ;) Guess you’ve pretty much put my 17 incher on the spot, LOL :)


Von Says:

Hi Skorocel:

“.. that 24 inch LCD would certainly be the last thing on my mind when wanting to watch a live tennis match :),”

Are you making fun of me. Let’s not forget it’s HD/LCD. That’s the big difference. :) The reception I receive is pretty good and it’s what has changed my views with resopect to live streaming. If you remember, I used to refuse to look at the links when you wold suggest them. But the reception has changed a lot since then.

I don’t wait for Christmas to receive gifts. I start out each Christmas season, the day after Thanksgiving, treating myself for christmas by buying a gift, and then I repeat the process all throughout December until January 31st. I don’t wait for anyone to buy me gifts — I’m very kind to myself. You know self-love, well it’s in abundance in my heart. My family has given up buying gifts for me — they give me gift certificates, and then I go on another shopping spree. I just love to shop for MYSELF, if you get my drift. :P

Please clean out your mailbox, you lazy #%*(, I have some very cute jokes, but one was returned due to your mailbox being full, about a week ago, and I’ve not tried sending it again. Let me know when you’ve done some work. Wow, that job is sure keeping you busy. Remember to be good, sweetie. :P


Von Says:

TwoCents:

“Should be easy for me to find you at US-Swiss DC tie: the loudest Roddick supporter.”

You betcha. I don’t like crowds but I’ll make an effort just to watch A-Rod rock the house. You can cheer for Fed, but please don’t cheer when A-Rod double-faults, and I promise I won’t cheer when Fed’s forehand begins it’s astral walk. :P

Shall I look for you behind the Great Britain flag? :P That was a cute story you told. Whether you were holding a GB or US flag I’m happy — I’m both and I enjoy the best of both worlds.

You’re sure lucky to be able to coordinate travel with tennis. I want some of those frequuent flyer miles. Texas is beautiful but Lord that heat just seems to burn into a person’s feet. Florida is hot also, but quite unlike Texas. You’d be welcome in Florida when you retire. I can just picture you in a hammock tied between two palm trees, and some exotic girls fanning you with palm fronds, while you’re sipping those umbrella drinks, which go to your feet after downing a few. How dkya like them apples? Kool. :P :P I retired to Florida 10 years ago, but won’t reach true retirement age for a loooong time, so it’s still work for me, but what better place to work. I love it. A happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, and be careful not to gobble too much gobble, gobble, get it? :D


Von Says:

gulu:

You’re so funny. LOL. I suppose both Kimmi and I are suffering from a new vitamin “T” deficiency (tennis). I’m trying to console Kimmi who doesn’t have the Tennis Channel. I’m not doing too badly because I get to see the old matches of players I’ve never seen play before, which is very nice, but poor Kimmi can’t, which is too bad.

Thanks for your comments on the other thread about my heart. That’s very sweet of you. :P I really do feel badly for dear Nalby.


Von Says:

Kimmi:

Thanks for the link on the upcoming WTA/ATP combined efforts on live streaming. Unfortunately, I can’t heed my own advice about getting in on the ground floor, because I want to see what the Tennis Channel will do to compete. Competition is great because the peons ultimately benefit. 2009 will be a good year for tennis!


Kimmi Says:

Von, I agree with you, lets hope for a good year of tennis 2009.

Gulu, i will also try the you-tube capsules. ha ha ! Good one!!


Ezorra Says:

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — The world’s top two players, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, will open the 2009 ATP season by playing at the Qatar Open in Doha.

Qatar tennis federation president Nasser al-Kholiafi has confirmed that holder Andy Murray and American Andy Roddick will also take part in the hard-court tournament, which begins on January 5.

The tournament is one of three that start the 2009 tennis season, along with the Brisbane International in Australia, and the Chennai Open in India.

Briton Murray, world ranked fourth, beat Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka in last year’s final to lift the title for the first time, after losing in the 2007 final to Ivan Ljubicic. Prior to that, Federer had won the title in 2005 and 2006.

This will be the 17th edition of the Qatar Open, a tournament first played for in 1993 when Boris Becker beat Goran Ivanisevic in the final.

Source – CNN.com/worldsport

————-

Yeay…:P


Twocents Says:

Thanks, Von. May you and family have a happy happy holiday season too.

I always cheer for both sides from courtside — worst kind of fan to have. Plus, I do appreciate A-Rod as a player and as a person.

In an effort to light myself up from my annual winter blue: tennis season off, 2 birthdays, thxgiving, xmas, anniversary, … in the next 2 months, I think Sean Randall was right on when he suggested Fed to trade Mirka for Decker. Not that I have any issue with Mirka. But look at it: Verdasco had Anna, Djork got himself a Ms. Universe, Rafa’s girl is hot hot hot :-)) And A-Rod was saying fearful of honeymoon.


Twocents Says:

Overheard some talks after TMC Shanghai:

RF: I better cancel the upcoming exho’s…
JMac: You can not be serious, Roger! I’ve advanced the checks on X-mas shopping.
BB: That’s fine, dear Rogi. Now I can take Toni’s invitation to sit in Rafa’s box at next year’s Wimbledon.
JB: Come on, Roger. I am perfectly qualified to sub for Rafa OR you (???!!!). But it’d be tooooo much for even a superhero like me to sub for both Rafa and you. They won’t give me both checks :-((.
Mirka: Roger. Your TMC pay check is barely enough for down payment on that 60-Carat rock.

(All fictional, I invented them.)

Happy Thanksgiving!


gulu Says:

Oh Twocents, I want you to give me some tips on fiction-writing ! I promise to give you 99% of my earning which I’d make by fiction-writing. I’m a science postmatriculate undergraduate doing law graduation ! Did you get me? ;-) Ha ha ha !!!


Kimmi Says:

Twocents, LOL !! I like the Mirka one. I think she should be OK with the appearance money in Abu Dhabi.


Skorocel Says:

To Von:

Man, isn’t this Skorocel an idiot? I was wondering what the hell happened with your correspondence, but “somehow” forgot to check the most obvious thing – the space left in my “super-sized” mailbox :) Actually, I didn’t even notice that funny Japanese fountain (good morning Skorocel! :) ), which, btw, was occupying more than a half of my entire mailbox space, and which was REALLY a treat to watch! Anyway, I’ve already cleared it out, so be ready to send me those jokes as you spoke ;)

P.S. My current job is indeed keeping me busy, but more about that in my upcoming letter, which I can hopefully knock together within the next couple of days ;)

P.P.S. Shopping spree? Ha ha, you really made me laugh with this one :)


Von Says:

Skorocel:

I don’t know if I should even bother to write to you again. I was pretty miffed when my emails were returned, and I tried twice after with the same results, but not being one to hold a grudge, I’ll send it again – one mo’ time! :)

You’d find the Yahoo notation ref. the message humorous, it stated “Yahoo does not like the recipient”. Whatever did you do to Yahoo to make them dislike you? :P Anyway, after scrolling down and reading more, I noticed that it was further stated “recipient’s mailbox is full”. You’re now forever on Yahoo’s black list.” :P LOL

What’s funny about the “shopping spree”? Is it because I stop shopping ONLY when I drop? :D


Skorocel Says:

To Von:

Noooooooo! Please, don’t quit sending me those emails, Von! I dunno, but I guess the solution here is quite simple: either will I create an email account somewhere else (which, as you may guess, I’m pretty lazy to do), or you’ll stop sending me those 5+ Mb Japanese fountains :) Pretty “fair” offering, don’t you think? ;)

P.S. About “shopping spree”, well, I found it somewhat funny, because the first time I ever heard about the word “spree” was actually some 10 years ago when I was playing a certain PC game (where if you defeated 3 or so enemies in a row, the game screamed at you “Killing spree!” :) ), so since then I was always associating the word “spree” with a certain massacre, or murder; without of course even bothering to look in the dictionary what this word actually means :)


Von Says:

Skorocel:

I’ll answer in my email about your email account, but one big problem I foresee if I stop sending those beautiful things, e.g., Antartica and Japanese Fountain, et al., you’d be limited to only the written word. Remember a picture is worth a thousand words. That said you’ll know I could never begin to describe the other stuff, due to my very limited vocabulary and imagination, not to mention the fact that I’m a person of very few words. LOL And, if you believe any of what I’ve just said, which by now you do know better, then you’ll believe I’m Methuselah’s aunt and you’re his son. :P ROTFL.


Von Says:

TwoCents:

You’re so funny with your fiction. LOL I had too much gobble, gobble today. I should have heeded my own advice to you.

I always keep forgetting to mention to you, I think your post name “TwoCents” is very appropos — I like it. I used to like “Hiding Behind our keyboards” too, which I found very creative, but redux (hello redux, name dropped at 7:52 pm) changed his name. I think you’re both very creative guys, fair-minded, and are on my list of “favorite posters”. Of course, it goes without saying, that I’m somewhat biased in your favour, because you like A-Rod, and the rest was easy. :D


JJFAN Says:

“Ezorra Says:
DOHA, Qatar (AP) — The world’s top two players, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, will open the 2009 ATP season by playing at the Qatar Open in Doha.

Qatar tennis federation president Nasser al-Kholiafi has confirmed that holder Andy Murray and American Andy Roddick will also take part in the hard-court tournament, which begins on January 5.

The tournament is one of three that start the 2009 tennis season, along with the Brisbane International in Australia, and the Chennai Open in India.”

[JJFAN]

http://www.atptennis.com/3/en/vault/draws.asp?TournamentID=891&TournamentYear=2008

Nadal lost to Youhzny at Chennai on that date in 2008.

Doha (Qatar) is ~2000 miles farther from the Australian Open. The trip after Doha will now be over 7000 miles, which is roughly comparable to a flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne.

See http://www.daftlogic.com/projects-google-maps-distance-calculator.htm


Ezorra Says:

According to Mr. Bodo (www.peterbodosTENNISworld.com), in 2008, the…

-Most Valuable Player
ATP: Rafael Nadal.
WTA: Serena Williams … but Jelena Jankovic put up a good fight.

-Most Improved Player
ATP: Andy Murray.
WTA: Oddly enough, I feel compelled to go with Elena Dementieva.

-Breakout Player
ATP: Juan Martin del Potro.
WTA: I’d put Dinara Safina here, though she’s just as worthy of being Most Improved.

-Most Disappointing Player
ATP: Richard Gasquet.
WTA: Svetlana Kuznetsova.

-Best Rivalry
ATP: This one’s tough, but I’m going with Nadal vs. Djokovic because they had some real knockdown-dragout battles this season.
WTA: Jankovic vs. the rest of the WTA. Seems no one is happy she’s #1!

-Match of the Year, Best of 5 (excluding Wimbledon final)
Federer vs. Tipsarevic at the Australian Open, just because I nearly lost consciousness during that match.

-Match of the Year, Best of 3
ATP: Nadal-Djokovic, Hamburg semifinal.
WTA: Serena-Venus, U.S. Open quarterfinal.

——————————————————

Ezorra’s choice:

-Most Valuable Player
ATP: Rafael Nadal
WTA: Jelena Jankovic

-Most Improved Player
ATP: Juan Martin del Potro
WTA: Dinara Safina

-Breakout Player
ATP: Gilles Simon.
WTA: Agnieska Radwanska

-Most Disappointing Player
ATP: Richard Gasquet (and Fernando Gonzalez)
WTA: Ana Ivanovic (as well as Maria Sharapova)

-Best Rivalry
ATP: Nadal vs Federer (STILL!)
WTA: Williams vs Williams

-Match of the Year, Best of 5 (excluding Wimbledon final)
Nadal vs Federer (Sorry, its hard for me to exclude the Wimbledon final in my list, I just… CAN’T!)

-Match of the Year, Best of 3
ATP: Nadal-Djokovic, Queen Final.
WTA: Serena-Venus, Wimbledon Final.

How about you guys? Without tennis, it’s kind of bored nowadays! I hope we have something to discuss. I really do!


gulu Says:

Hi Ezorra! :-) For me-ATP Man 2008-Rafa,WTA player 2008-Venus Williams,Most improved player-Murray.ATP match of the year-Fed v. Murray at
Shanghai(way better than Rafa-Nole at Queens).2nd best-Tsonga v. Rafa at Aus Open(unbelievable!),3rd best-Wim final.


gulu Says:

Ezorra , the 4th best match for me this year was the Nole v. Fed Oz Open semi & then comes the one at Hamburg between Rafa & Nole. The Madrid masters semis were also great,loved them ! However the windiest match of 2008 was the French Open final ! :-(


gulu Says:

I just hate the terrorists carrying out meaningless killing of the innocent people.I have never felt so much sad about any terror strike as I’m now feeling about the terrorists’ recent attacks on Taj,Triednt Oberoi & Nariman house of Mumbai !


JJFAN Says:

Ezorra wrote in part:

-Most Disappointing Player
ATP: Richard Gasquet (and Fernando Gonzalez)
WTA: Ana Ivanovic (as well as Maria Sharapova)

[JJFAN]
Ivanovic disappointed with an injury and subsequent confidence issues. To me the real disappointment, falling off dramatically after a breakout 2007 was Anna Chakvetadze. Seeing Henin retire was high on the disappointment scale. Lastly, I was disappointed in Serena Williams appearing poorly prepared for the Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha. If unable to stay in training, maybe her time is up. Perhaps a steep decline is in the works.

Among the men, my disappointment lies with Nalbandian, as it often does. Perhaps others simply gave up on him. I guess “disappointment” is generally in reference to younger players failing to progress, but older players can certainly disappoint as well.


gulu Says:

JJFAN, I completely agree with you that disappointment’s coming from the older players as well ! I’m hugely disappointed about Nalby & Marat this year as always,they are really great players,in fact Nalby may be just 2nd to Fed in terms of ability !


gulu Says:

The other guy about whom I really feel sad is Rod ! He was so close to beating Ferrer on clay in the DC Semi,I was really praying for him ! Besides I hoped Rod would win at least a masters trophy. Fed not winning a masters is well & truly disappointing !


gulu Says:

How could I forget about Henin’s retirement,shame on me ! It’s probably the hell of a shocker for tennis fans ! It’s tennis’s BIGGEST LOSS in 2008
!


;o Says:

I swear, did those two tennis editors watch the Serena-Venus matches?

I could see Wimbledon being a candidate, but that QF was a chokefest from Venus after something like 7 set points.
Hell if I had to choose my favorite Serena-Venus match this year it would’ve been the YEC. What Venus did was nothing short of spectacular.
I would’ve put Venus and Jelena at Stuttgart ;)


;o Says:

ps+ how much money does Doha offer to players?
The tournament really is nothing great.


Ezorra Says:

Gulu says;

“I just hate the terrorists carrying out meaningless killing of the innocent people. I have never felt so much sad about any terror strike as I’m now feeling about the terrorists’ recent attacks on Taj, Triednt Oberoi & Nariman house of Mumbai!”

I’m so sorry to hear that. Please forgive me for the late reply too :-( Like you, I also don’t understand how individuals we call “human being” could act as cruel as that! I hope you will ok soon.


Twocents Says:

Kimmi, Gulu, and Von,

Thanks for the encouragement. Glad you guys get some laughs from my little piece. We loyal fans deserve some funs too while our heroes (or tourturers?) lying on nice beaches enjoy their off season J), even though we can not afford fancy designer diamonds.

Gulu, what’s “ postmatriculate undergraduate ”?

Von, thanks for complimenting my little “TwoCents”. Took me some real effort to post even with a humble name like this — just lazy. Have to thank the passions I enjoy from you and other regular posters here. Life’s short. Post hard.

BTW, I think that you’re a little too harsh on yourself by calling your liking of posters based on their fandom (?) bias. When it happens that we both appreciate A-Rod,it is a fact that we must agree on lots of goodies we see in this person. And this conspiracy, be it subjective or not, really serves as a natural bridge to connect fans. Preference of certain player is a bias, for sure. No shame about it, though. Preference of posters based on fandom is much less bias coz the fandom is a fact.

A-Rod made about $15million in 2007, Fed like $27 million. And yet these guys are still working their **tt off on and off court, trying to advance their career. It’s just beyond me that they, despite all the bashings, still keep trying. That’s why I tend to reserve bigger admiration to the falling stars than to the rising ones, even though I do enjoy a lot the upcoming force at work. We see it everyday in our own life that the young and super-ambitious new comers trying relentlessly to have their own ascend to the summit. But how can one keep going after becoming sickening-rich and too famous? Guess sky is the limit in terms of fame, fortune, legacy, and love of the game? And thanks to the great effort from all falling stars, we have these on going great shows of change of guards in real life drama. Takes two to waltz. Hats off to both. But kudos to the one who CAN call it a day yet chooses the harder path to move on.


gulu Says:

THANK YOU FOR YOUR HEALING WORDS DEAR EZORRA! WHAT MORE TO SAY ANOUT THE MUMBAI TERRORIST ATTACK! I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT WHENEVER I SEE THE FUNERALS OF OUR DECEASED SOLDIERS AND THE SOBBING AND FAINTING OF THEIR NEAR & DEAR ONES ON THEIR DEAD BODY, MY BLOOD STARTS TO BOIL LIKE THE HELLFIRE! OH GOD ,SEND THESE TERRORISTS TO HELL PLEASE!!! IN FACT THE MUSLIMS WHO ARE ENGAGING IN SUCH MINDLESS HORRIBLE MURDERS OF THE INNOCENT PEOPLE ARE SURELY FOOLS & KNOW NOTHING ABOUT KORAN’S GREATNESS.TERRORISTS READ THE KORAN FOR SURE BUT DUE TO THEIR SINFUL NATURE & MISFORTUNE , THEY FAIL TO UNDERSTAND IT IN THE REAL SENSE!THE PROPHET MOHAMMED WOULD HAVE BEEN ASHAMED OF SUCH SELF PROCLAIMED JEHADIS! JEHAD MEANS HOLY WAR,BUT TERRORIST ATTACK IS DIRTY WAR(WAR OF THE EVILS -THAT’S TERRORISM)!TERRORISTS ARE JUST LIKE ROBBERS WHO ENJOY THEIR MEAL WITHOUT ANY LABOUR, WHICH IN TURN ALSO GOES AGAINST THE BASIC TENETS OF ISLAM.I’M NOT A MUSLIM HOWEVER,BUT RESPECT THE KORANIC VERSES MORE THAN THESE BASTARD KILLERS WHO ARE UNFORTUNATELY VERY OFTEN REFERRED TO AS ‘MUJAHIDEENS OR JEHADIS’. THEY ARE NOT WHAT THEY CLAIM THEMSELVES TO BE. SHAME SHAME SHAME ON THE TERRORISTS!!! ALL MY CURSES FOR THESE MONSTERS!


Ezorra Says:

Zola!!! I miss you!!!!!


I like tennis bullies Says:

If China is so “crazy for tennis” as one ESPN writer put it, how come there were so many empty seats at the Masters Cup matches, even the final? Fans are so crazy they forgot to go to the event?
———–

same could be said of dubai and doha and qatar


gulu Says:

WHERE ARE YOU VON,JANE & ZOLA ? Ezorra at least is posting every week here.Everyday I come here & it has been like 4 to 5 days since someone for the last time posted here ! Come on guys,respond!!!


gulu Says:

Hi bully sissy ! :-)


grendel Says:

Well, Gulu, I hear your heartfelt cry and, whilst I belong to the wrong sex, let me toss a couple of buns your way to keep you going till the real deal clock in.

I’m still knee deep in contemplating that which needs to be done and wondering quite how one gets the whole show on the move. As me old gran used to tell me (looking me squarely in the eye) “Never do today what can be put off until tomorrow)”. I’d look worried and respond “but what about tomorrow, Gran?” “Just stick with the bloody plan!” she’d snap back, eyebrows bristling. It is true that tomorrow never comes. So why am I getting that great big hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach? Help. Gran, what have you got to say, you old fraud?

Anyway, ITV4 (British terrestrial channel)have been showing the old fellas pounding away in the Black Rock Masters in the Albert Hall, London. I enjoyed the Sampras/McEnroe match. Sampras showed one or two nice humorous touches you don’t tend to associate with him. McEnroe complained fairly audibly about a Sampras serve, pointedly addressing the umpire to the effect that even he, with his well known tendency to defective vision, if indeed one could call what went on when he directed his eyes at something or other vision even in the most limited sense of that term, in short, surely even he, the umpire – well, you get the drift. No response from the umpire being forthcoming, McEnroe appealed to Sampras. “Pete,” he called plaintively, and though he didn’t say it, you could see he felt here, after all, is a man with a decent set of goggles, surely he will bear me out.

Grinning broadly, Sampras made his way to the net, climbed over it, and then kind of minced his way to the service line and with a flourish, rather like a waiter removing a serviette to display the tremendous goodies underneath, he placed the ball with infinite care and precision right smack on the line. McEnroe looked at him severely. Having your bluff called is always tricky. Retreat is unavoidable, but one wishes, if possible, to manage it with dignity. He didn’t say “Harrumf!”, but you felt that was what he had in mind. And as he bent down, preparing to receive, there was much shaking of the head and movement of the lips all of which betokened a man caught deep in the travails of disbelief.

And then at match point, McEnroe suddenly withdrew as Sampras prepared to serve. “I just need to get a sight of the ball,” he called out. Sampras pointed to where he intended to serve, he did serve exactly there, McEnroe was in position – and it was an ace all the same.

In all seriousness, Sampras’ serve seemed to be as lethal as ever. His ground game was pretty hot, too – but given that the man over the net was pushing 50, perhaps too much can be made of that. But the serve – with the second, b.t.w. being just as outlandish as ever – with that weapon, he could still beat anyone. Alright, he couldn’t win a slam, not seven 5 setters in a row. But a one off? Imagine if he faced Nadal or Federer in the first round at Wimbledon. Can you not just smell an upset? Oh, I’d love to see that, and then if they could fix the draw or something….Sampras actually remarked, in the context of visiting Wimbledon : “I’d love to play on that court one more time. There’s not a place like it in the world. I’ll maybe ask the club if they would let me play a practice set.” Must it really only be practice?

McEnroe was complimented by an interviewer about how good he looked, and he replied that he actually felt he was in better shape than when he was playing. The interviewer started making sceptical noises, and Mac patiently explained he was talking about fitness, not actual standard of play. He made the interesting remark that, when he was on the tour, he relied too much on his ability – considering he is one of the most skilful tennis players ever, that was a pretty downbeat statement. But he said how much he enjoyed doing the gymn work now – and, for a 50 year old, he was just astonishing. Running, bending, still going through those extraordinarily contorted movements which constituted his serve, and not even looking out of puff by the end. And by the way, well as Sampras volleyed, the genius volleys came from Mac.


MMT Says:

I watched McEnroe play Jim Courier in another seniors match just after having watched him play against Vilas in the Pepsi GS of tennis in 1978, and I have to say, I submit that McEnroe is hitting the ball harder now, and looks fitter now, than when he was a 19. His stroke even appears to have changed significantly, which is common for tennis players (watch Federer hit a back hand today and compare it to anything pre 2004, and you’ll see what I mean).

Back in the days of wood racquets, it wasn’t uncommon for a good professional player to play into his 40s at the top level. Pancho Gonzales won his last tournament at age 44 in 1972. Although he played a limited schedule, he was still capable of beating some of the best players in the world until the very end, and even winning a tournament or two…this was without the benefit of modernized racquet technology.

I would argue that Pete Sampras would still be a top player, and would still win tournaments and possibly even a grand slam if he were fully fit and competing on a regular basis, even at at 37. Last year he beat Tommy Haas in straight sets (although Haas was coming off an injury) and Federer as well. He finished his career using a graphite Wilson Pro Staff with lead tape, to make the frame even heavier than it already was. With adjustments to a lighter frame, I’m certain he’d beat the hell out of 85 percent of the players on tour today with regularity.


gulu Says:

Pete is capable of beating most of the current players except of course may be the current top two! Beating Fed/Rafa at the Wimby grass may prove to be near impossible, still it’d be one of the sweetest moments of my life if Pete pulls off an upset against Rafa at the All England Club(AT WIMBY REALLY????!!!!) :-) He might just do it as much as anyone else given the fact that he blew Fed away in straight sets in one of the exhibition matches !PISTOL PETE CAN REALLY STRIKE EVEN NOW!


gulu Says:

THIS IS FOR YOU GRENDEL :-) Forgot to indicate it. Pete is capable of beating most of the current players except of course may be the current top two! Beating Fed/Rafa at the Wimby grass may prove to be near impossible, still it’d be one of the sweetest moments of my life if Pete pulls off an upset against Rafa at the All England Club(AT WIMBY REALLY????!!!!) :-) He might just do it as much as anyone else given the fact that he blew Fed away in straight sets in one of the exhibition matches !PISTOL PETE CAN REALLY STRIKE EVEN NOW!


Von Says:

TwoCents:

Thanks for your kind comments, and I’m glad that we’re on the same page with respect to our player choices. It’s good to know that even though posting takes some effort on your part, you don’t give in to the inclination to be a procrastinator, hence the enjoyable exchanges in thoughts and discussions on the sport of tennis. Kudos to you and keep up the good job! :P

You mentioned A-Rod and Fed raking in $15 and $27 million respectively in 2007. Were those amounts due to endorsements? WOW, I think I’m in the wrong business, when I consider that most of the players did not even complete Jr. High School, and there was I grinding away for 8 years post High School to pursue my profession. I agree with you that those players who are desirous of improving their game and remaining at the top of the sport should be commended, considering they’ve achieved so much and still want to continue to improve despite the huge sums of money they are being paid. That’s dedication for you, and it certainly makes the sport more interesting for the fans.


Von Says:

Hello to all. Ezorra and Gulu, I miss you too, but unfortunately there isn’t much happening in tennis to discuss.

grendel, lucky you. Thanks for your comments on the Black Rock Champions tournament. I was very disappointed that our tennis media did not deeem it important enough to broadcast the BlackRock Masters tournament. I would have loved to see my all-time fave, Pistol Pete, in action. I read previously that Johnnie MC had put everyone on notice that he was going there to win.

It’s amazing that Johnnie Mc being close to 50 years of age, is still able to play as well as he does. Did he get into any altercations with the umpires? I’ve seen him recently play in some Champions matches here in the US, and was a bit amazed that he didn’t lose his cool. I suppose he’s mellowing with age.


Von Says:

I take back my remarks about Johnny Mc losing his cool. He lost it big time at the Seniors Cancer Treastment Center championship match in Surprise Arizona, which was broadcasted this evening. His explosion and implosion seemed to spark new life into him after losing the first set. He came back to win the second set and the champions tiebreak, thus ensuring his status of champion for the tournament beating Todd Martin. JMc has won two (2) tournaments for this year. He beat Sampras in Boston and Martin in Arizona.

MMT: Did you see the championship match?


MMT Says:

Hi Von:

I did see the final, and although McEnroe deserved to win, I don’t think he would have, had it not been for the sandstorm brewing in the second set. Genius that he is, McEnroe adjusted in ways that Martin couldn’t, and as a result he won the tournament – kudos to him.

BTW – I’d like to see the senior circuit restrict themselves to wood racquets – that would be fascinating to watch, and prolong the careers of a lot players, particularly the most talented ones, and eliminate some of the Magnus Larssons and Thomas Enqvists of the world. Nice guys, but who the hell wants to see them play – never mind play at 35!


Von Says:

MMT:

Hi, I see you’re living the life of the Godfather, :P per your post on another thread when you changed over to FIOS and the Tennis Channel. According to the slogan for LG Electronics, “Life’s Good”. Enjoy!!

Yes, that desert sand-storm was the best thing that could have happened for Johnnie MC in Arizona.

I agree, who wants to watch Larson and Enqvist play. Bring on the older guys. According to the commentators, this will be JMc’s last year on the senior tour. Bummer, just when I’m beginning to accept his lunacy as normal, he’s quitting. I must say he’s been living on the edge of effectiveness throughout this year though.

You have a special affinity for the wooden racquets because of your childhood experience. I doubt whether the present day players, who are made to appear iincredibly artistic, when they use the new racquets+Luxilon strings, would agree with you. There would be a revolt if the present day technology were to be changed in lieu of those from days gone by, viz. wooden racquets. But, there’s no reason why you can’t keep dreaming. :D

TC is broadcasting some tournaments from this year’s season for both ATP and WTA. I’ve seen some of them, and it was good to see them again. These re-broadcasts have definitely filled the void/drought of tennis tournaments we are currently experiencing. Only 3 more weeks to the tune-up tourneys for the AO and Hopman Cup, which I’m eagerly awaiting with bated breath. Enjoy when you watch.

There following is an article from ATP Insider, which focuses on Roddick and Federer being the only two (2) Top 10 players who’ve remained consistently in the Top 10 for seven (7) consecutive years. Good job by Fed and A-Rod!!

Federer, Roddick Extend Streak; Nishikori Makes Big Jump

© ATP
ATP stats and information guru Greg Sharko looks at the numbers behind the stories of the ATP World Tour in his regular column, ‘Shark Bites’.

In 2008, Roger Federer and Andy Roddick extended their year-end Top 10 finishes to seven consecutive years, the best among active players on the ATP World Tour. They are among 13 players to finish in the Top 10 of the South African Airways ATP Rankings at least seven years (since 1973). Of the group, all but three players finished the season at No. 1 during their career.

http://www.atptennis.com/5/en/deuce/feelit/default.asp


MMT Says:

Credit has to be given to Roddick for his consitency – top 10 for 7 years is pretty good, and not a lot of players can say that about their career. On another Craig Hickman’s blog I commented that it’s interesting to see who the rest of the world views American tennis players vs. how Americans do – typically we deride Blake for being an underachieving choker, but if you have a chance to watch a clip of his match with Tsgona in Paris, the commentator, who’s English, talks about him like he’s won a grand slam. Although I tend to think he’s underachieved, it was still refreshing to hear that someone out there still thinks Blake is a heck of a player.

As for wood racquets – it’s like outlawing the slam dunk in basketball – it would never happen, but I stone cold guarantee the game would be better if it did. That’s why I focused on the seniors tour.

I would say until about 2015, we won’t see anybody who learned to play with a wood racquet on the senior, so that’s also unlikely, but we have a chance to implement it and see how it goes. Maybe just an invitational? 4 players – Sampras, McEnroe, Courier and Edberg. That would be something.


gulu Says:

Hi Von and MMT, I’m just overjoyed to see you people chatting here1 By the way I think that wooden racquets would be really odd in the present scenario,but many won’t have problem with racquets made of chicken bones I guess! ;-) By the way time is running fast and we are moving rapidly towards the next tennis season! :-)


Ezorra Says:

The 2008 season opened with a player other than Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer hoisting a Grand Slam championship trophy for the first time in three years. Novak Djokovic’s breakthrough at the Australian Open signaled a new status quo. As the year went on, the Federer-Nadal rivalry continued to be the most compelling story line in tennis, whether they were pursuing each other in the rankings or on the court. But there were plenty of other delights, distractions and dumbfounding events this season. We review some of the highlights and head-scratches below.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR
No dispute here. Rafael Nadal crashed through the thin but still-obvious fiberglass ceiling that separated him from Roger Federer: re-asserting his dominance in a big way in the lopsided French Open final, winning Wimbledon in an unparalleled five-set thriller, capturing the Olympic gold medal and finally overtaking Federer for the No. 1 ranking in August after three years at No. 2. It’s no surprise that Nadal wore out as this jam-packed season wore down, withdrawing from both the year-end championships and the Davis Cup final. We wish him a restful interlude, and think it’s safe to say that the dynamic at the top of the men’s game has shifted.

MATCH OF THE YEAR
See above. The Wimbledon final had everything: the best two players in the world, spectacular shot making, a finish as darkness descended and a wildly appreciative crowd.

MOST IMPROVED PLAYER
This is a tricky category — do we go with a guy who made a major move in the rankings, or a top player who bridged that seemingly small but elusive gap to place himself among the elite group of potential Slam winners? In this case, we’ll opt for the latter and recognize No. 4 Andy Murray, who emerged from an uncertain, injury-plagued stretch and a coaching change to flex his biceps and increased mental muscle and show he’s up to the dreaded task of being Great Britain’s standard-bearer. We think he has a great shot to win his first major in Australia next month. Honorary mention to Stanislas Wawrinka and Gilles Simon, both of whom cracked the top 10 for the first time in their careers this season.

MOST IMPROVED AMERICAN
Sam Querrey showed he’s not afraid of anyone or any surface this season. He knocked off then-No. 9 Richard Gasquet to advance to the Monte Carlo quarterfinals last spring, and gave Nadal all he could handle on center court at the U.S. Open and again in his Davis Cup debut in the semifinals, contested in the hostile environment of a Madrid bullring. Querrey also won his first ATP title in Las Vegas early in the season. As the year wound down, he wasn’t bashful about stating his goal to guarantee himself a seeded position at next year’s Aussie Open. It was a tall order, and Querrey fall a little short at No. 39, but credit him for reasonable ambition combined with great attitude.

YOUNG PLAYER TO WATCH
Kei Nishikori, who turns 19 in late December, has a beautiful game, an endearing personality and the massive pressure that comes along with an early tag as the best player ever to emerge from his native Japan. Up from No. 288 in January to No. 63 at year’s end, he shows signs of being able to embrace the challenge.

BIGGEST UPSET
Now that Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is a top-10 player and one of the ATP’s most charismatic stars, it’s easy to forget that a mere 11 months ago he was regarded as a relatively easy mark for Nadal in their Australian Open semifinal. Tsonga had never played a full season at the ATP level, and his big body is prone to breaking down. The Frenchman rose to the occasion with a brilliant, creative and nearly error-free match that left Nadal shaking his head in bewilderment on the other side of the net. Honorary mention: Nishikori was ranked 180th and had only a handful of ATP matches under his belt when he beat then-No. 12 James Blake for the Delray Beach (Fla.) title; University of Illinois product Kevin Anderson of South Africa overcame a similar paper mismatch to shock No. 3 Novak Djokovic in the second round in Miami.

BIGGEST UPSET (TEAM)
Spanish Davis Cup captain Emilio Sanchez said he admired the camaraderie of the 2007 champion U.S. team and tried to cultivate that spirit among his own group of talented players. In retrospect, host Argentina might have chosen badly for the final by going against its own traditional strength and playing on a hard court. But there’s no question that Spain’s better interpersonal chemistry was a factor in beating the fractious Argentines, despite Nadal’s absence.

BEST USE OF EQUIPMENT
Nikolay Davydenko took recycling to a new level, winning all six matches en route to the Sony Ericsson Open title in Miami using a single Prince racket.
Mikhail Youzhny’s self-inflicted head-bashing at the Sony Ericsson Open created an indelible memory.

WORST USE OF EQUIPMENT
In a moment of frustration during a late-night, early-round match against Nicolas Almagro in Miami, Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny bashed himself in the forehead several times with his racket frame, drawing blood and forcing a stoppage in play. The video became an overnight YouTube sensation and cast ultra-serious soldier Youzhny (who ultimately won the match) in the unlikely role of slapstick comedian. “We were just two crazy boys out there,” Youzhny said an hour later, the wound still oozing.

WEIRDEST CROWD INTERACTION
The normally decorous Federer wheeled toward the box where Novak Djokovic’s parents and other supporters were sitting in Monte Carlo and snapped “Be quiet.”

MOST ILL-ADVISED CROWD INTERACTION
In a post match, on-court interview at the U.S. Open, Djokovic lashed out at Andy Roddick for Roddick’s previous quips about his multiple physical ailments, triggering a hailstorm of boos at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Even Roddick, who doesn’t always exhibit great impulse control, would know better than to do the same in Belgrade.

LOST IN TRANSLATION CELEBRATION
OK, it was a strange year overall for Federer, and there were times he needed to cut loose a little. After he and countryman Wawrinka won the Olympic doubles gold medal, Federer passed his hands over his prone teammate in what looked like a creepy cult ritual. It was apparently meant to signify that Wawrinka was “hot,” but you could have fooled us. Guys, please stick to the usual clichés and leave the hackneyed symbolism to us writers.

MOST GRAPHIC SELF-DEFENSE
“It’s not because I was scratching my things on the sofa and I didn’t want to play tennis.” — Marat Safin at the Sony Ericsson Open, explaining why his comeback from a knee injury has been so fitful.

MOST CANDID SELF-ASSESSMENT
“I’ve been living like this since I was 10, traveling around. For me to sit back somewhere in the same place for a couple of months or one year, it would be suicidal. So I prefer to travel to nice places — Miami, Australia, Indian Wells, Monte Carlo, Rome, Hamburg — so it’s pretty interesting places. To give up on that … it’s a very tough decision, and I’m still enjoying it.” — Safin, same interview.

MOST CANDID SELF-ASSESSMENT, PART II
“I think if she will do everything opposite of what I’ve been doing throughout the years, she will be No. 1 in the world for a long time. That’s as simple as it is.” — Safin at the U.S. Open, talking about his sister Dinara Safina’s breakthrough season.

DUBIOUS MILESTONE
Lleyton Hewitt and Marcos Baghdatis began their Australian Open match at 11:47 p.m. and finished at 4:34 the next morning, the latest result in Grand Slam history. It might have been a delightful novelty from afar — especially for U.S. fans who enjoyed the spectacle over breakfast — but in the interests of top-notch competition, we don’t think players should have to work the graveyard shift.

OFF THE RADAR
Baghdatis, now No. 99, didn’t look like he was heading in the right direction even before injuries sidelined and hampered him through much of the season. We’re also wondering if Guillermo Canas can regain the great form he showed in his comeback from a contested doping suspension last year.

WE’LL MISS
The intelligence and class consistently displayed by veteran Jonas Bjorkman of Sweden; the elastic reach, contagious grin and loose-limbed grace of Brazil’s Gustavo Kuerten; the pure entertainment provided by the maddening Magician, Fabrice Santoro of France.

PARTING WORDS
“Well, I don’t understand ‘redemption ‘ quite that well, but I don’t think that’s what it is. I don’t feel like I needed this win particularly to prove myself, you know. I don’t think I’m at that point any more.” — Federer, after defeating Murray to win his fifth straight U.S. Open title.

Bonnie D. Ford covers tennis and Olympic sports for ESPN.com. She can be reached at bonniedford@aol.com.


MMT Says:

I have to disagree with the most improved player – for me it has to go to JW Tsonga – a GS final, a Masters Series title in Paris, qualifying for Shanghai and a year end ranking of 6 for a guy who last year was ranked 43 with no career ATP titles in 2007, and never (still) never having finished a season without significant down time due to injury, is magnificent.


gulu Says:

There’s no doubt that Andy Murray is the most improved player. I don’t think what Tsonga showed is improvement,he rather showed his true class.I don’t think he has improved(may be Jo actually has a little bit, but I really don’t take it that way!).I would rather say none, except may be Fed, can beat Tsonga when he’s spot on. Tsonga always had the stunning ability in him in a latent form, now this year he’s just showed glimpses of what he actually is(in fact was since he took up a racquet!) capable of ! However I would not completely dismiss the idea of Tsonga’s improvement,it might be true to a certain extent though I’m not fully convinced about it. Yet, for me, Murray and his not-so-dear-buddy Del Potro are the most improved players. And I’m also impressed (though not to a great extent,but still!!!) with that Ernest Gulbis. Gulbis would not be able to beat the higher ranked guys consistently, even then he’s capable of edging past the biggies occasionally!


Von Says:

Hi gulu: Nice to see you posting.

Re your comments, I like chatting with MMT. He fills in the blanks for me for those years of tennis that have escaped me. He’s a virtual tennis database.

____________
MMT: Ref James Blake being labeled an “underachiever”, I’d say the tennis analysts and critics do not look at the whole picture. If they were to do so, it would be abundantly clear that Blake is a guy who really did not have any dreams at all of being any type of athlete due to his serious childhood health problems with spondylosis. He had to wear a back brace throughout high school and only began playing tennis as a teenager. Most players begin playing at 5 years old or thereabouts and would have given up on any type of sports, but James persevered and conquered the odds to make it to the pros. Then in 2005 he had that awful accident which side-lined him for a year, but he managed to come back strong in 2006 and had his best year ever.

This year, James has had some tough losses in DelRay, Houston and then the Olympics, which was the toughest loss for him imo.

In view of the foregoing, I believe that he has accomplished much for someone who’s had to fight against chronic pain and physical discomfort, and is to be commended for all that he has achieved. Had it not been for his late start, who knows how much more he would have accomplished. For me, he’s not an under-achiever.

With respect to Murray and Tsonga being the most improved players. I’d say again, the analysts are not looking at the whole picture and both players are even. Tsonga played for 7 months and obtained the marvellous results you mentioned, so maybe if he had played for the full season he most probably would have 2 MS shields instead of one and a few more titles simiklar to Murray. Four months can make a huge difference in a player’s season, but unfortunately, the polls do not take such things into consideration when tallying their results. Hence, the way I see it, they’re both even.


MMT Says:

Thanks Von – I always enjoy our interchange as well. As for James Blake – well, I don’t want to go negative on him, because there’s really no point to that. He’ll be up and at ‘em in 2009 just as he has in the past, and I wish him the best. I know he’s been through a lot in his life (we all have) and perhaps his burden has been heavier than others, so I’ll let it go at that.

As for Tsonga and Murray – perhaps I have suffered from the burden of expectation on him as well. After all, if anyone is merely fulfilling their potential, based on expectations anyway, people have been talking about Andy Murray since he beat Federer in 2006. Tsonga, on the other hand, for many, was an absolute nobody. Maybe not to die-hard fans, but even I was surprised at how well he played early on, and how well he played in the indoor season. Aside from that terrible performance in the last game of the first set and the second set against Federer, he was as good as anyone in tennis, including Murray.

However, Murry has had better results, and he is younger, so good on ‘im…I’m even starting to warm up to him a little bit – in the past I’ve really been hard on him on my blog and my posts, so I tip my hat to him today. But he and Tsonga better come through with the goods in 09, because the expectation is now on both of them to do well in Australia.


MMT Says:

BTW – I just saw a re-air of the Monte Carlo final – Federer really choked away that match. Nadal didn’t play that well, Federer just blew it. First, he was immediately broken back after taking Nadal’s serve in the first game of the match. Then he goes up 4-1 in the second and LOSES! Boy-oh-boy.


Von Says:

MMT: We both sound like a “Mutual admiration society”. Ha Ha :P

On the write-up Ezorra posted about the Wimby final being the best match of the year, I tend to disagree. There were several great matches throughout the year. However, if it’s only about Wimby, then I’d say the Gasquet/Murray match was a lot more exciting and featured drama galore.

I saw that Monte Carlo match too. It was Federer’s match to win. What a pity, and I agree Nadal was not playing at a high level. This goes to show that even the best players do not play an entire great tournament. They play some great matches struggle in the others, but somehow manage to win the tournament.

I watched the Hamburg match today. I initially watched it live in parts, but watching it again, made me realize the full impact on Fed with respect to the medical time-out by Nadal. Fed was up 5-2 and Nadal called for the trainer and came back to win the first set. Fed was visibly upset. The commentators were pretty vociferous with respect to that medical time-out by Nadal. Second set, Fed was up 4-1 and got broken and really had to fight to win it in a tie-break. Of course, Nadal won the match in the third. Amazing how energetic some players become after a medical time-out.

I’ve never been a fan of Nadal’s tennis style. Initially, I liked his enthusiasm for getting to the balls and winning the point, plus the fact that he would not let go of a point, unlike other players who would let the balls and/or points go, but have slowly gotten turned off by Nadal’s many injury time-outs and bathroom breaks at times which seem to be calculated, plus a few of his other gamesmanship tactics. My feelings on gamesmanship, regardless of whether it’s within the rules, goes to my thinking that if a player is really that good, then he/she does not need to employ gamesmanship to win.

Normally in the season, I very rarely watch the doubles matches, but now that TC has been airing them I’ve developed a whole new appreciation for the doubles players. If they are moving in sync, like the Bryan Brothers, they are beautiful to watch. They move as one, especially when going forward and poaching. I also feel that their skill is underrated and they are underpaid. Doubles needs more promotion for the fans to appreciate them because there’s a lot of dexterity and orchestration involved in their game. I’d also like to see their prize money raised.


MMT Says:

I only had time for the first set of the Hamburg final, but I just can’t believe Fed lost that first set! In fact he was up 5-1, although it was only 2 breaks. I had no idea he blew it like that. I think the key to beating Fed is to make him hit more and more shots in the rally – he doesn’t seem to have the patience to win a point with out hitting a winner, and that’s going to be a problem as he get older.

I agree that Nadal’s timeouts are suspect, but a player of Federer’s calibre cannot succumb to those sorts of things. He’s just got to pull his socks up and do it. And while I agree that I prefer players to just get on with it, rules are rules. I think the rules are stupid, but rules are rules.

Finally, with the doubles, I agree that doubles can be wonderful to watch, but the biggest problem I see with it becoming more prominent is that absence of committed singles players. You see, in the old days, when prize money meant something to everyone, singles champions played doubles to win – it was important.

Today, it’s full of specialists, who can’t hack it on the singles side, and as a result has lost its luster. While I appreciate the Bryan brothers, and Bhupati and Ziminiovic, and all the other doubles specialists, I think they’d all be better off if the top pros played as well. But that will never happen as long as they make most of their money from endorsements.

If I’m not mistaken,they also replayed the Paris final, which I’m looking forward to watching tonight. That Tsonga is a hell of a player.


gulu Says:

Ha ha,just a week left for the start of tennis !! I’m lovin it :-) ! Hi dearest Von, gearing up for Christmas,New Year and tennis,all at the same time eh ! ? :-o ;-) :-) A Merry Christmas & Happy New Year & hopefully a great 2009 of tennis for Fed & Rod !


jane Says:

Just wanted to say “Happy Holidays” to all my tennis-x blogging friends!! That includes the writers of the posts too. See you all in 2009! Cheers.


MMT Says:

Happy Holidays to you too Jane, and Von and Gulu. Looking forward to the start of the 2009 season!


gulu Says:

Hi MMT, Jane, Ezorra, Twocents and all others, wishing all of you a Merry Christmas ! Where are you Grendel? Oh,where are you my sweet and dear Zola? I miss you !


gulu Says:

MMT, this one is for you friend ! First of all thank you very much for wishing me happy holidays! :-) A very very very happy Christmas holiday to you too and yes, a very happy new year in advance! And don’t forget to wish me happy new year, ok? ;-)


gulu Says:

MMT, hats off to you for posting so regularly to your friends out here! You are really enthusiastic I guess, when it comes to tennis-talk. Keep it up,keep posting and make us happy with your posts! :-) Enjoy your holidays & send me some merry-cakes ! ;-)


gulu Says:

Hey Von, where’s my Christmas pudding ( No eggs please, I’m a veggie! ) ? :-) Won’t you offer me anything on the Christmas? Anything sweet, some cake(s) or some dessert(s) ? You can’t say nay ! :-o Come on Von,you can’t be so greedy ! ;-)


gulu Says:

Hey Sean Randall, Merry Christmas to you as well ! But don’t each too much of turkey, your tummy would grow big !


Von Says:

dear gulu:

A very merry Christmas to you and a happy New Year, mon ami! Thanks for sharing the Christmas spirit. I promise I won’t send you anything with eggs. I have a very nice virtual Christmas fruitcake for you. Yummy for your tummy. :P


Von Says:

MMT:

All my very best of wishes to you and yours for Christmas and the holidays and also all the good things you wish for yourself. I hope Santa Claus is good to you and grants you the desires of your heart. I know with the Tennis Channel, your 2009 Tennis season will be an enjoyable one. Cheers old chap (the old chap’s a joke, I know you’re a young un. :D

___________
jane:

My cheeriest of greetings to you for Christmas, the New Year and a bang-on 2009 tennis season that’s sizzling with some great matches. Tah, tah and cheerio. :D

___________
Ezorra:

Merry Christmas and a Happy new Year Malaysian style. enjoy. P)


Von Says:

Sean Randall:

Oh wow, have I missed being visited by Mother Superior. Seriously though, I miss your input and hope you’re raring to go after your sabbatical.

All my very best to you and yours at this wonderful season of good cheer, goodwill and brotherly love. Now keep that thought in your heart and indulge in the eggnog or whatever tickles your fancy. Cheers, bottoms up and all that good stuff. :P


Von Says:

TWoCents & redux:

How could I have forgotten you two. Not a chance. Two Cents I suppose you’ve forgotten us with all those parties you had planned. Sober up in time for the AO. Merry christmas and a Happy, Happy new Year.

Redux I know you’re around but you’re just “hiding behind your keyboard”. Rise up and add some good cheer. :P
___________
TO ALL:

Merry christmas, Happy new Year and a great 2009 tennis season! :P


Von Says:

MMT:

I had a good chuckle about the Paris final. I believe you had the wrong night pegged to watch. It was the next night. Anyway, hopefully you found out in time and was able to see the match the following evening. Enjoy when you watch.

I’l looking forward to Smash Hits and Hopman Cup replays.


Noel Says:

Jane,Von,Grendel,JCF,Giner,MMT,Matt,Zola,Gulu,Sheetal,Tennis-x authors et al

Here’s wishing all of you a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS and a fantastic 2009!!


Von Says:

Sensationalsafin:

I’ve committed the unforgiven. I forgot to include you in my list of those to whom the very best of wishes should be extended. sorry my young friend, but you’re always in my thoughts and it goes without saying a very Merry Christmas and a happy new Year.

_______________
Dear Skorocel & Dr. Death and Noel:

I’ve sent you personal email wishes, but just in case you didn’t receive my emails, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. :P


Von Says:

Sorry for the many posts, but I’ve forgotten some very important people from my Christmas list of greetings as follows:

Two dynamic ladies: TD(Tam) and Danica. You’re among the very best of female posters.

Some great guys: JCF (my lost friend), Giner, Grendel, Ra and Shital (SGreen). Shital I’ve missed you terribly and then some. Hope you return to posting for tne new season.

And, to all others with whom I interacted frequently, but whose names escape me, a very merry christmas and and a Happy Nnew Year filled with the very best of good wishes and the great things you wish for yourself.


gulu Says:

Oh my God,how can I forget Redux, sensationalsafin,Giner,Matt, TD( Tam), Danica,Skorocel,Dr. Death,JCF, Tennis-X authors? Merry Christmas friends and God Bless you all !
I’m so happy & excited ! :-o :-) ;-) I promise that we’d rock this year too
!


gulu Says:

Hi Noel, thank you for your kind wishes and love for Christmas and New Year ! Needless to say though, yet I’m wishin you a very happy Christmas ! :-) Enjoyyy…..!!! ;-)


gulu Says:

My Christmas’s posting would remain incomplete without wishin Merry Christmas to all the anti-Feds – to Mono-His-Arse in particular ! I’d normally never greet you, anti-Feds, as I’m a Die-Hardest Fed fan, but in Christmas time, I’d hate to hate others !


gulu Says:

Hey Mono-His-Arse, you have been a person whom I have always disliked until now, I have always called you fool etc, but I’m ready to say sorry to you today as God’d be most happy with we forgiving each other ! That’s all, Merry Christmas to you too !


gulu Says:

Now Jane not posting to me is what I can say’s makin me angry during this Christmas ! Jane,are you listening? What ! Yes…!!! Then why not gift me something ? Noble idea, isn’t it? A Christmas treat from you ! ? ;-) Lots of Honey for dear Jane ! :-)


gulu Says:

Very Dear Zola, where are you? May be ya don’t know how much you are missed ! For God’s sake come back ! My Christmas wishes for you, you can’t forget me ! :-( Ezorra also badly missed you,you have to return soon,waiting for you eagerly !


gulu Says:

I have absolutely no right to refrain from wishin JJFan a merry Christmas ! Enjoy Christmas your own way dear JJFan !


jane Says:

Lots of happy wishes gulu – no offense meant. Just trying to keep the holiday wishes open to all and everyone! Cheers and talk to you all soon when the tennis starts up. :-)


andrea Says:

the new atp site is looking pretty snazzy….


MMT Says:

The new site looks good, but the content is basically the same. One question: there used to be a poll on the site asking fans who would emerge #1 in 2009, and Federer won by a 2-1 margin over Nadal, with votes for Murray and Djokovic thrown in for good measure.

Any theories as to why people think Federer will still be #1?


Daniel Says:

Hello guys!! Looks like the regulars are still here, very glad! Missed Christmas wishes, so: Happy New Year for you all, mine won’t be that well, working (oil business…)!

Very excited about the next season coming in what, 7 days…The year will star boiling with Nadal, Fed, Murray and Roddick in the same tourney, can’t wait for the draw to see who will meet Nadal and who gets Fed! The other tournament will be hot too, will we have another Djoko x Tsonga final?!

MMT, in tennis time is very trick, when Nadal won RG and Wimby he was favorite to win US Open, now that Fed won the last Slam, to me he is favorite to win AO, so no reason why not to think he can be n. 1 again. But Fed will only get older and his back issues will appera even more. But, this year will be a 4 man race, at least looks like it, Nadal didn’t won a title after he became n. 1 and we don’t know how his knee problems are. As much as Djoko and Murray are the future, last year Nadal and Fed shown to us what they are made of and they won’t be disconsider any time soon.


grendel 1 Says:

. Why Federer? ‘cos he’s the best, innit


grendel 2 Says:

Would you care to elaborate, grendel 1?


grendel 1 Says:

naow. What’s more to say?. He’s the man, innit.


grendel 3 Says:

I’m with you on this one, grendel 1. Federer is certainly the master, or at least, one has the feeling he’s the master. It may, of course, be all a kind of collective hallucination –


grendel 1 Says:

. No it ain’t. What you talking about, innit?


grendel 3 Says:

Compose yourself, grendel 1. The point I am endeavouring to get across -


grendel 1 Says:

Ain’t no point TO get across, innit? Fax are fax, ain’t got nofink to add to that, innit


grendel 3 Says:

In which case, kindly exercise some self –restraint, and allow me to develop my point. As I was saying –


grendel 1 Says:

You wasn’t sayin nofink, cos you got nofink to say, innit.


grendel 3 Says:

Shut up, you miserable excuse for a human being -


grendel 1 Says:

Oh my, oh me – yer gonna make me then, innit?


grendel 2 Says:

This is all getting a little out of hand, grendel 1. Let grendel 3 have his say. You know what he’s like. It won’t amount to much. But let’s humour him.


grendel 3 Says:

. Thankyou for your intervention, grendel 2. I shall overlook your offensive supplementary remarks on the understanding that they were strategic in import. My interpretation of the widespread assumption on the part of so many tennis afficianados, that Federer will regain the number one spot, is not technically orientated. I freely concede that such expertise as I may possess –


grendel 1 Says:

oah, for gawd’s get a blinkin move on, wot’s ve matter wiv yer, you got plumstones in yer mouf or somefink? innit.


grendel 3 Says:

– as I may possess does not lie in the technical arena. I am a little short of practice, you might say, in the noble game. But my own experience as a fan, I take the liberty of suggesting, is widespread, and therefore I relay it, as I suspect it may strike some chords. Federer gives the impression, always, of being the best. When he is playing badly, you feel this is just a lapse. But when he gets beaten by someone like Nadal, even when he is playing well, you have this strange feeling that something inappropriate has occurred. For a start, you always remember those occasions – often overlooked by people who assume Nadal has Federer’s number – when Federer simply wipes the floor with Nadal; he makes him look like a novice, whilst he himself appears as some impossible maestro. And yet, Federer still manages to lose the match. All kinds of reasons are adduced; Nadal is inhumanly tough, who just goes on picking himself up off the floor as if it were the merest routine. Federer loses focus because it it too easy, Federer loses focus because it is too hard, he just can’t keep that level up, he remembers who Nadal is, and so on and so forth. But the net result – for many, many fans, perhaps not articulated as such, but felt, rather, in the gut – is that a kind of injustice is seen to have been perpetrated. Impossible to put the finger on it quite, but the feeling is, sooner or later, Federer will turn the scales – and all, at last, will be right in the tennis world.

Notice that this is an instinctive feeling, hard, really, to defend on rational grounds. But for better or for worse, that is how a lot of us respond. And I daresay there are a few experts who, once they have delivered themselves of their interesting expertise, actually partake of this gut response just as much as anyone else.


grendel 2 Says:

That’s all very well, but Nadal fans would take issue all of this. And what about Murray?


grendel 4 Says:

I can’t stand Murray


grendel 1 Says:

Murray’s orlroite I s’ppose, but e’s nofink really, innit.


grendel 2 Says:

. On the contrary, Murray has it all, and has every chance of hauling himself to the very top. Why, -


grendel 4 Says:

I ‘ate Murray


grendel 2 Says:

He has youth, strength, cunning, spirit –


grendel 4 Says:

‘E makes me ashamed to be British, Murray does. If I had my way –


grendel 2 Says:

Best return in the business, one of the best serves once he’s got it under control – and that’s still a bit variable, but he’s getting there –


grendel 4 Says:

– I’d get a hold of him, I would, I’d take him round the back, like, -


grendel 2 Says:

Also, noone can do change of pace like Murray can –


grendel 4 Says:

- and then I’d give ‘im a damn good ‘iding.


grendel 2 Says:

But aside from matchless tennis skills, he’s got a competitive spirit to die for, I’d take him over Nadal in that department –


grendel 4 Says:

– and then after I’d given ‘im a lesson he wouldn’t forget in a hurry, I can tell you, I’d give ‘im a good talking to. “Oi, you, Murray,” I’d say, ‘olding ‘im by that pansy ‘air of ‘is –


grendel 2 Says:

The thing about Murray is, he is deceptive in all departments; he gives the impression of being worn out, but in reality, he’s ready to go ten sets –


grendel 4 Says:

“– I don’t want no more bovver from you, Murray, d’you get it?” I’d tell him. ‘E ud be shaking, of course, and nodding away like the world was about to vanish, but I know his bloody game, ‘e can’t pull the wool over my eyes. “I’m goin’ to be watchin’ you, Murray, “ I’d tell him –


grendel 2 Says:

All in all, I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that Murray is actually more gifted than Federer, and it is only a question of time –


grendel 4 Says:

“And if you do anything more to irritate me, Murray, anything at all, by the time I’ve finished wiv you, yer own ma won’t recognize you. Are you understanding me, Murray? Are you getting the picture loud and clear?” That’s what I’d tell him. I wouldn’t like to be in Murray’s shoes, I can tell you that for free.


grendel 1 Says:

So vis geezer was axing me ‘bout Djokovic, wot I fort of ‘im. He’s orlrite, innit, I said. But vere’s only one player, an’ ‘e jus ‘appens to go by ve name of Federer. Innit.


jane Says:

Reminds me of Londonstani. Welcome back grendels.


grendel Says:

Federer,looking back on 2008, says: “I faced an unexpectedly difficult training period and exhausting start of the season due to illness precisely 12 months ago. I spent a great deal of the year battling with the lack of practice and hours of training that I faced at the time.”

Chortles of hilarity do I catch? Sober nods of assent am I perceiving in my mind’s eye? Do I hear splutters of outrage? Isn’t it strange how this mild mannered and really – outside of his tennis – quite unremarkable young man can generate such passion amongst us, the plebs.

I wonder how carefully Federer has thought his comments through. Let’s say he is not – in an unguarded moment – indulging in self-justification. Let’s agree, tentatively, that he is not rewriting the script – even though (just between ourselves) you and I, dear poster, indulge in this compulsive and useless activity all the time. Let’s take the man at his word.

Then he is either being very brave or very rash. He is going to be vindicated during the course of this year – or he is going to look a fool, for these words of his will not be forgotten.

I wonder what it’s going to be.


Kimmi Says:

Hey Grendel, I enjoyed reading that but the only thing i disagree is… apart from Murray being gifted he still has issues with his fitness. there is an improvement this year for sure but as soon as he can master that he should regulary beat Nadal on hardcourts and Djokovic…..and Federer as his best years are going away slowly.

Still Federer is my man. I hope his statement about 2008 not the best due to illness and lack of practice can all come true after he goes thru his normal year end training and come strong in 2009.

Happy new year everyone.


grendel Says:

Watcha, Kimmi. You may be right about Murray – but I get the impression he is now very fit. Don’t be taken in by that grungy morning after the night before look – that’s his mask; an odd choice, of course. It would be quite amusing to do research on the various masks the rich and famous assume. As for Federer, I too hope he is right in his self-assessment, and that it’s not just wishfulfillment. Only time will tell. Pity you can’t speed it up, eh?


gulu Says:

One grendel’s good enough to conquer our hearts, but I’m utterly surprised to find out a Grendel dynasty here ( may be ) ! Grendel, are you the founder of dynasty of the grendels ?
Or it’s just a tale of 5 grendels !


gulu Says:

Anyway…. what I should do first of all’s to wish everyone related to this site, a very happy new year 2009 ! And it’s gonna be Fed again…. all the way !!! ;-)


gulu Says:

This year it would be the parliamentary elections in India. May the opposition party come to power !


Australian Open Says:

amelie is a great player and she’s also fun to watch!

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