Gonzalez Wins Marathon at Australian Open; Dokic Owes Drug Dealer, Rusedski Un-retires
by Staff | January 24th, 2009, 11:05 am
  • 30 Comments

Serena Rolls, Dementieva Overcomes Choke at Aussie Open

Serena Williams says her game is still coming together during week one at the Australian Open, but on Saturday it was enough to overwhelm China’s Peng Shuai 6-1, 6-4 to move into week two.


“It was definitely a lot better than my second round but I’m still trying to work on some things and hoping they’ll come together,” said Serena, who found herself down a break 1-3 in the second set. “I started making more errors and then I lost my serve a couple times. Then I think I put too much pressure on myself and the next thing I know I was down. I hit some wild shots on my backhand so that was kind of crazy, so I’m feeling a little rusty, for whatever reason.”

Serena will next face Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, who on Saturday put down former No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo 6-4, 6-2. Mauresmo came into Melbourne with an injury, and exits feeling good about her game.

“Even though it’s now quite disappointing, I think my (best) level of play is coming back. It’s slowly getting there,” Mauresmo said. “I have to be a little bit patient I guess with the things we worked on in the winter. Some things are good, some other things are still up and down.”

Russian Elena Dementieva, who has never won a Slam but came into the event a favorite by virtue of two titles in her first two events of 2009, had to overcome a case of the chokes in defeating Aussie Sam Stosur 7-6(6), 6-4 in front of the supportive Aussie fans.

“I was nervous to play against her,” said Dementieva, who was down 2-5 in the opening set after dropping serve to begin the match. “I’m sure she feels very comfortable playing on this court with the crowd support. It was not easy for me. It was a tough match to play. I’m just glad I was able to win the first set and finish it in two sets…There’s gonna be some bad days and some days of, let’s call, ‘survivor days.’ The most important is to go through.”

Also through into the fourth round Saturday were (8) Svetlana Kuznetsova (d. (31) Alona Bondarenko) (21) Anabel Medina Garrigues (d. (12) Flavia Pennetta), (18) Dominika Cibulkova (d. Razzano, (22) Jie Zheng (d. Kateryna Bondarenko), and unseeded Spanish Venus-killer Carla Suarez Navarro (d. Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez).

On court Sunday in 4th round action are (1) Jelena Jankovic vs. (16) Marion Bartoli, (3) Dinara Safina vs. (15) Alize Cornet, Aussie Jelena Dokic vs. (29) Alisa Kleybanova, and an all-Russian in (10) Nadia Petrova vs. (7) Vera Zvonareva.

Gonzo Outlasts Gasquet in Marathon, French Musketeers Advance in Oz

Headed toward what looks like an inevitable semifinal showdown, world No. 1 Rafael Nadal and Brit challenger Andy Murray rolled over opponents to move into the fourth round at the Australian Open.

Nadal dominated former No. 2-ranked German Tommy Haas 6-4, 6-2, 6-2, while Murray held off No. 31-seeded Jurgen “Tuna” Melzer of Austria 7-5, 6-0, 6-3 in a lopsided battle.

“I think I played one of my best matches here at the Australian Open,” said Nadal, who next faces a revenge match against Chilean Fernando “Gonzo” Gonzalez, who beat the Spaniard en route to the Aussie Open final two years ago.

Gonzo pulled a rabbit out of a hat against “Baby Fed” Gasquet, who ran through him 6-3, 6-3 in the first two sets, seemingly en route to a quick dinner engagement. But in the third set Gonzalez seemed to wake up, and after fighting off a match point in the tiebreak, clinched the third set. In a show of will the eventually-limping Chilean, who received attention from the trainer for a toe problem, won the next two sets 6-2, 12-10 to emerge victorious in what was another heartbreaker for the gumption-challenged Gasquet.

To his credit the Frenchman, suffering his own foot injury with a broken nail, turned to serving and volleying late in the match and threw the Chilean off his ground game. Gonzalez saw that Gasquet, not known as one of the training workhorses of the tour, was beginning to suffer later in the match after his fast start.

“He was playing like a superhero,” Gonzalez said. “I mean, I couldn’t do anything. I was 6-3, 4-1, I couldn’t do too much…I saw that he was trying to save energy. I don’t know the reason. I saw he was really tired in the fourth set, fifth set. In the first set, I tried to move him, tried to play long points and try to do something else. If I went for my shots, he was coming with another better one. So, was very tough in the beginning.”

Other winners into the fourth round Saturday were the three young French musketeers in (5) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (d. Dudi Sela in four), (6) Gilles Simon (d. Mario Ancic), and (12) Gael Monfils (d. (17) Nicolas Almagro), American (9) James Blake (d. (18) Igor Andreev in four), and Spaniard (14) Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco (d. (22) Radek Stepanek, baking two bagels in the final two sets).

Saturday’s schedule in Melbourne is (2) Roger Federer vs. (20) Tomas Berdych, Marcos Baghdatis vs. (3) Novak Djokovic, (8) Juan Martin Del Potro vs. (19) Marin Cilic, and (7) Andy Roddick vs. (21) Tommy Robredo.

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS

Sixty-eight unforced errors and you still win the match in straight sets? That’s what Sveta Kuznetsova did…

Fernando Verdasco has lost just 12 games in advancing to the fourth round, which puts him in the Sweet 16 of all four Slams…

Victoria Azarenka is undefeated in 2009, 8-0, without the loss of a set…

Juan Martin del Potro beat Marin Cilic twice in juniors. The two 20-year-olds are the youngest players left in the men’s field and both are undefeated in 2009…

Fernando Verdasco says he’s worked with Andre Agassi’s old trainer, Gil Reyes, leading up to the 2009…

The last time the Top 8 seeds made the fourth round at a Grand Slam was at the 2003 US Open…

Andy Roddick, Marcos Baghdatis and Gael Monfils all won the Australian Open junior title…

Roger Federer has won seven straight, winning 18 of 19 sets, over Tomas Berdych since the Czech beat him at the 2004 Athens Olympics…

Tomas Berdych is 0-10 vs Top 10 players in Grand Slams, and 14-23 outside Slams…

Novak Djokovic will again have the crowd against him when he takes on Melbourne favorite Marcos Baghdatis. Novak has beaten Bags in both previous meetings including a 5-setter at Wimbledon in 2007…

Andy Roddick last lost to Tommy Robredo at the 2000 Australian Hardcourts. Roddick since has won 9 straight over the Spaniard, losing just one set…

Marin Cilic lost to Donald Young in the quarterfinals of the 2005 Australian Open juniors…

Four women — Serena Williams, Jelena Jankovic, Dinara Safina, Elena Dementieva — are all vying for the No. 1 ranking…

Gilles Simon says he and Gael Monfils are 10-10 in practice sets. The two friends have never played an official match…

Another streaker hit the Aussie Open late in the day, streaking through the oval courtyard…

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga says his back is “perfect”…

Serena Williams and Sveta Kuznetsova are the only players left in the women’s draw with a Slam title…

Jelena Jankovic is appearing in her 11th straight Grand Slam fourth round…

How about these Tennis Channel commercials! The “Titan Peeler”? We need one of those for our kitchen. Viagra? Yes! But where is the ShamWOW guy? That guy can’t be beat…

We just saw a Citizen watch ad that says Nicole Vaidisova is unstoppable…shouldn’t those ads be pulled? Does it mean unstoppable on the challenger circuit?…

ARE YOU KIDDING US? – ESPN leaves it’s coverage of the Gael Monfils-Nicolas Almagro match last night after match point, then does a few wrap-up notes and goes off the air. A couple minutes later the Tennis Channel opens their coverage showing the match point from Monfils-Almagro with Bill Macatee’s voice-over ‘We’re live at the Australian Open, at the conclusion of the Gael Monfils-Nicolas match…’ Huh? Live in a time warp with a match that ended five minutes ago? Or did you forget that viewers were switching over from ESPN’s live coverage? Either awful decision-making or a verbal blunder by Macatee…

EXCESS BAGGAGE — The Telegraph on coach Roger Rasheed saying many of the lower-ranked women players, such as Aussie Casey Dellacqua, are too fat and lax on their conditioning to compete with the top players: “Roger Rasheed, who used to coach Lleyton Hewitt and is now in charge of top French player Gael Monfils, was quoted by Melbourne’s Herald Sun as saying fitness was a super-important “controllable.” “There’s two things you can control in tennis — one’s your physical conditioning,” said Rasheed, who labelled the serve as the other. “I’m baffled that girls in sport, in tennis, can actually carry excess baggage. That means you’re slower, your mind doesn’t work as well, you can’t recover, you can’t recover off shots. It means you can’t play the shots you want to play often enough against the better players. So you lose.” He singled out Australia’s Casey Dellacqua, who crashed out of the Australian Open in the first round and has been accused of being out of shape. “She may have had some injuries, she’s had a shoulder, but that doesn’t actually stop you from getting into real tip-top shape,” Rasheed said. Dellacqua’s coach Nicole Pratt refused to comment. “From a professional stand-point, I’d rather not answer back on that one,” she told the newspaper, although Dellacqua, whose weight has been under scrutiny before, shot back that Rasheed does not know her. Australian Pat Cash then supported Rasheed, saying “He is a hard disciplinarian and an experienced coach. I think his comments were pretty valid. In regards to Casey, I know she has been working on her fitness and I think there has been an improvement.” Another former player, Margaret Court, added: “I don’t think they’re as fit as we were when we were playing.”…Tough to hear for players, but Dellacqua is chunky. But how many chunky girls are in the No. 50-200 ranking level? If you watch a lot of tennis on TV — lots of them…

Dmitry Tursunov was fined $3,000 for racket abuse and dropping f-bombs during his first-round loss, and Nicole Vaidisova was fined $2,000 for blowing off her post-match media conference after her first-round loss. Thanks for coming Nicole, keep up your stellar training and media relations routine…you’re unstoppable…

RUSEDSKI BACK! BOGGY BOOTED! – Britain’s Greg Rusedski has announced a tennis comeback, saying his retirement has allowed his body to heal, and that he has asked for some wildcards at ATP events. He has also stated his desire to play Davis Cup for Britain alongside Andy Murray, but Davis Cup captain John Lloyd has thus far responded, to paraphrase, ‘Uh, no thanks.”…In other Brit D-Cup news, Lloyd has booted Alex Bogdanovic off the team, saying the former pupil of Brad Gilbert has had plenty of chances to perform. “I believe that Alex has had a lot of opportunities and he hasn’t been successful,” Lloyd said. “It’s time to move on and give other people a chance.” Instead of giving the former Slam runner-up Rusedski a shot, Lloyd says for the No. 2 singles spot behind Murray he will have a playoff amidst the all-zero group of Brit non-comers Josh Goodall, James Ward, Alex Slabinsky, Jamie Baker, Dan Evans and Colin Fleming. Geez John, we can see you’re taking a page out of U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe’s “Let’s Develop the Youngsters” manual, but he had something to work with. Just swallow your pride and insert Rusedski back in — not only has he given a lot to the squad in the past, but you’d actually have a shot at getting out of Davis Cup zonal play. At least let Rusedski into the playoff. If those kids can’t beat an out-of-competition Rusedski, they suck anyhow…

Prudish conservative politicians are trying to ban topless sunbathing at Australian beaches. This country is really going down the crapper…

Serena in her best third-person reference style in blogging for USA Today from the Australian Open: “My first-round match here was one I will remember. I was told it was over 115 degrees on the court. It was so hot that I forced my breathing to become shallow, to not over-extend too much energy gasping for air. My throat was clogged with dryness. I was desperate for water before the allotted two-game break and remember telling myself, “Serena, after this point you get some water.” Indeed I did get water only to restart in the dry, excruciating heat…Finally after an hour and 20 minutes it was over. I won, but you did not see the usual Serena Williams after-match celebration. Just the Serena “happy to have won” and even happier to run out of the heat.”…

Why does Rafa have to put a collar on his shirt to make him look more “mature” according to Nike and his camp? Will it help him get a job after tennis? Maybe he should wear one of those faux-tuxedo t-shirts next. A Nike release gushes, “With colors as vibrant as the culture of Majorca, Rafa will burst onto the court in chlorine blue, orange blaze, white and concord. Rafa’s contrasting tones are set to shine, day and night in the city that never sleeps.” Puke…

Jo Stanley writing for the Herald Sun on glitz and glamor over substance in today’s version of women’s tennis: “At the risk of sounding like someone’s grandma, superstars of the past were so because of their play. No one saw Martina Navratilova in a bikini, admittedly, nor did we want to.” — All these women need to wear pantaloons! And you kids, stay off my lawn!…

DOKIC DEBTED TO DRUG DEALER? – Management company IMG says they know nothing about their client’s involvement, but according to the Herald Sun, Jelena Dokic owes $60K to the family of a now-dead drug trafficker who took her in and paid for her training two years ago when she was struggling. Dead drug importer John Anthony Giannarelli’s family is demanding the money, saying he took over Dokic’s management duties and paid all her expenses before dying of cancer. “She arrived out here broken and penniless and Johnny was the one who took the punt on Jelena,” family friend Glen Schirmer, who worked as Dokic’s dietitian at Giannarelli’s request, told the newspaper. “At his own expense he housed, fed and trained both her and her boyfriend for months. He said he knew that one day he’d get the money back from her. He liked her and he thought she deserved a second shot at it. He felt really sorry for her and they became very, very close. She was trying to get a start again but nobody wanted to touch her, so Johnny took her on.” — One of life’s lessons Jelena, never stiff the mob…


Also Check Out:
On Look, Rafael Nadal Is Now Announcing When He’s Being Drug Tested
Rusedski, Rios Just Won’t Retire; Williams Family in Court
Rusedski Beats Sampras, Flipper Beats Courier for Senior Titles
Gisela Dulko Retires From Tennis
Wayne Odesnik Accepts ‘Voluntary’ Drug Suspension From Tennis

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30 Comments for Gonzalez Wins Marathon at Australian Open; Dokic Owes Drug Dealer, Rusedski Un-retires

Bobbie Says:

Poor Dokic, she is involved in so much crazy shit.

Rusedski should be given a chance since Britain has no one good besides Murray, and their youngsters are all also-rans.

And yes there are a lot of wta players on tour who are in denial and out of shape.


Giner Says:

Sean was wrong about Gasquet again. I didn’t see the match but the scoreline looks like another Wimbledon meltdown. Led by 2 sets and then fell 12-10 in the fifth. Somewhere in your heart of hearts, I think you knew Gasquet’s mind was not ready for prime time yet.

And here you were expecting the headcase to break through. You need to justify your hunches every now and then.

“The Telegraph on coach Roger Rasheed saying many of the lower-ranked women players, such as Aussie Casey Dellacqua, are too fat and lax on their conditioning to compete with the top players”

He’s dead right about that. She is overweight. The news is a few days old and she already bit back with a stinging attack on Rasheed saying that he knows nothing about her or how he trains. What Casey fails to realise is that he doesn’t need to. Her weight is obvious without knowing anything about her. It’s something she can work on and there’s no reason why she shouldn’t. The same goes for Nalbandian.

“Prudish conservative politicians are trying to ban topless sunbathing at Australian beaches. This country is really going down the crapper…”

Whoa..!

The skimpy outfits crackdown was the early signs I guess. I haven’t seen Cornet yet, I wonder if she changed her outfit? I never found anything wrong with the original to be honest.

“Why does Rafa have to put a collar on his shirt to make him look more “mature” according to Nike and his camp?”

Maybe I haven’t watched him close enough, but I didn’t notice a collar on him. I saw the sleeves but I’ll have to look closer for the collar. This new image thing was all Nike’s idea. Rafa is a very superstitious person who likes rituals and routines and doesn’t like even the slightest bit of change and it took a long time for him to accept the new outfit. The pirate pants he stopped wearing long ago because his knees needed to be taped, but from what I hear, he didn’t want to give up the sleeveless shirt.


Giner Says:

Oops.. Gasquet even had match points in the third set when he eventually lost in a tie break 12-10.

This is going to sting.

And Sean thought this would be the guy to dispose of Nadal and then Gilles Simon. Even if he won, I think Gonzo would have had a better chance at beating Nadal, but he must be spent by now. He was physically tired in his first 5 setter against Hewitt, and must be even more tired now that he effectively played a 6 setter against Gasquet. Nadal has cruised so far, and he is my clear favourite in his next match.


Andrew Miller Says:

I agree…if Nadal is coasting, that spells confidence, which spells trouble for others.


Giner Says:

Dokic is on a run right now, and with Ivanovic out, she might make the semis looking at her draw.

The Australians are really behind Dokic. This is funny because earlier in her career she was the star of Australia’s female squad and got huge support from them whenever she played in Australia. And then her dad told her to move back to her native country and represent them. The result was immediate scorn from the Aussies. They booed her and wanted her to lose. Her last match was a first round against Davenport, and the Aussies supported Davenport as though they were Americans, cheering all her winners and Dokic’s errors. Dokic really got them extremely mad and hateful overnight. That hatred lasted for all the years that she had SCG at the end of her name. And the moment she decided to return to Australia, all was forgiven and forgotten as quickly as she was hated. Some are still vocal against her for what she did, but the tennis fans on court universally loved her.

All it takes is three letters at the end of your name to polarise Aussies. Somehow I don’t think the Serbian fans cried much when they lost her back to Australia, and they probably weren’t overjoyed when she defected from Australia either.

“I agree…if Nadal is coasting, that spells confidence, which spells trouble for others.”

I thought Haas would have given him more trouble than 3, 2, and 2. The first two opponents were pushovers, but Haas is a good player, and he’s been to the semis in AO 3 times (losing to Safin, Federer, and I can’t remember the other).

Gasquet did Nadal a huge favour in pushing Gonzalez to 12-10 in the fifth. I still would have expected Nadal to win against a fresh Gonzalez but not with a great deal of confidence. Now Gonzalez has the deck stacked against him in terms of time spent on court. That was over 4 hours in one match while Nadal breezed past Haas in half that time. If the match gets extended, Gonzo will call a medical time out to treat his tired cramping legs like he did against Hewitt. If Gonzo is to win, he’ll have to blow Nadal off the court and finish it in 3 like he did in 2007.


Giner Says:

“The Telegraph on coach Roger Rasheed saying many of the lower-ranked women players, such as Aussie Casey Dellacqua, are too fat and lax on their conditioning to compete with the top players:”

Another observation if I may, Kleibanova (the girl who took out Ivanovic) is also looking pretty chunky, and I would say worse than Dellacqua. She’s done pretty well thus far however. She plays Dokic next.


jane Says:

I feel sad for Gasquet; I can’t help it. I woke up in the middle of the night (on this side of the globe), checked the scores – it was 9 all in the 5th – and stumbled back to bed. I just had a hunch, no really, I knew, Gasquet wouldn’t come through. And I felt sad for him. If just once he could get on a roll like he did at Wimbledon when he made the semis (though I was mad he took out Roddick), maybe it’d be a boost in his confidence.


jane Says:

Andrew, I agree: it’s tough to judge with Haas, given all his injuries etc, but Rafa has looked like a number 1 player so far.


mem Says:

i agree jane! all credit to gonzo, but i wanted gasquet to get through this one. he has had so many disappointing matches; matches that he should have won. he’s got game, but somehow it almost always turn out to be the same old story. he definitely gave fernando all he could handle, maybe, next time, richard will be the one moving on! by the way, great performance by rafa. it’s getting tougher as expected, but rafa needs to keep his eyes on the prize and fight! i’ll be rooting for him!


James Says:

ou know Dokic was born in Osijek, western part of Croatia where you had at a time big Serbian population (that was majority before civil war). As result of the war they left to Australia where under supervision won five and were seven time finalist.
They later left back to Serbia because her father wanted. The whole drama started when she left her family to live with Bikic brothers. It is not hard to understand how her family when left them to live with Croats. Atrocities in second WW2 when 700,000 Serbs were killed repeats itself 10 years ago. More then 200,000 people were forced to leave their homes in order to save their lives. That information was never being published on the west, because Serbs were being portrayed as aggressors and war criminals. This and many other facts can partially explain for her father sporadic behavior. He claimed that her daughter was kidnaper and a Bikic and Croatian mafia. Again this was not are away for the true since Bikic half brother was drug dealer in Zagreb. This is probably a connection with drug dealer in Australia.
Borna Bikic who became her official trainer had zero tennis experience. Her tennis plummeted; Borna Bikic was also successful in destroying one other tennis carrier – Karolina Sprem.

Tennis Australia helped a lot struggling Dokic, providing her a free TA coach Lesley Bowrey but again she could not stay for long even with him (in 2006 she also left Pilic tennis academy)…


Colin Says:

I’m a bit confused by the article. This deceased friend of Dokic is called a “drug traficker” and a “drug importer” in the same sentence. Surely these are rather different things? “Importer” means a legitimate businessman to me. Was he a criminal or not?


Kroll Says:

Is Gasquet the worst bottler in the present cop of top players? He was brilliant in the first two sets and when he broke Gonzo to level 5-5 in the third, I switched off for a bite and to the Rafa match. An hour and half later and Gonzo has levelled! Didnt Gasquet have the same experience with Murray last wimby or something? Crazy!

Giner
—–
“I thought Haas would have given him more trouble than 3, 2, and 2.”

The scoreline doesn’t do justice to the match. Haas played some brilliant tennis(esp the spectacular drop-shots) at times but also had a whole bunch of UEs. Rafa started poor, poor but got better pretty fast. He was terrible in the first, and would routinely float vanilla short top-spun balls to the center of the court for Haas to smash around. Its actually a regressive clay habit, where it doesen’t matter because Rafa can retrieve anything. A poor start like this one against a more in-form player would be catastrophic.

Staff
——-
The guy Dokic took money from is hardly the “mob”. The family of that guy released a public statement about the money that Dokic owes, not exactly mob-esque behaviour. He is just some guy who was once arrested for smuggling a whole bunch of pills. Besides if she continues in the present form, $60000 is nothing at all. As dramatic as last-word zingers are, I think a bit more research would be a nice thing every now and then…


TD (Tam) Says:

tennis-x staff: “Nadal dominated former No. 2-ranked German Tommy Haas 6-4, 6-2, 6-2″

It is not surprising that the “Staff” did not call Haas a washed up 30 year old like they did Santoro versus Roddick!

“Sixty-eight unforced errors and you still win the match in straight sets? That’s what Sveta Kuznetsova did…”

I am sorry but the woman’s tennis has become unbearable to watch lately.

Dokic makes a great comeback story I hope she wins her next round!


Di Says:

The ending – “don’t stiff the mob”. Is there actually any evidence of this on Jelena’s part? Seems to me a “typical” family grabbing money after a family member dies! Obviously, by the comments made, the man who sponsored her did it for all the right reasons and it said they were close. I’m sure that he would be horrified if he knew his family were behaving in this greedy, money grabbing way! As for Jelena, I am sure she would have had the intention to pay back the money with her winnings from the tournament. Totally unnecessary for the family to publicize the matter! With the things this girl has had to deal with, she did not need this while she is still in the running. I just hope she is being shielded from any media at the moment.


Kroll Says:

Giner
——
I ve been surprised and impressed by how the Aussies have welcomed back Dokic. It seems like a combination of factors. It probably matters that Australia lacks a genuine top player in tennis and are therefore relatively eager to adopt a player who is not entirely homegrown. I was in Australia for a few months a couple of years ago and found the Victorians to be a wonderfully warm lot, not so much as you go north. But the most significant factor is probably how Dokic has handled it, she’s has been repeatedly apologetic, emotional, and very grateful, something that never fails to sway a receptive group of people.


jane Says:

Kroll,

I agree with your assessment of Nadal/Haas first set; I just watched the replay and Haas was playing some great tennis. Meanwhile, Rafa was hitting a lot of balls into the mid-court area. He wasn’t quite rubbing up against the backboard, playing miles behind the baseline, as he was wont to do in the past on hardcourts, but it did seem regressive. However, the impressive thing is that Nadal righted himself. He didn’t used to do that. And he volleyed and played aggressively.

Much like Blake coming in a lot against Andreev. I think all these guys are taking a page out of Tsonga’s run last year; he utilized the net to great effect until Djokovic pushed him back during the final.

The round of 16 is fantastic, imo. Though I’d've liked to see Gasquet in there.


jane Says:

btw, no one mentioned the crowds during the Gonzo vs. Gasquet match, but they were incredibly rowdy too! Wow – lots of nationalists in Oz or something?

Giner – fill us in.


Kroll Says:

Jane

Regarding the crowd in the Gonzo-Gasquet match, I must agree. I am huge soccer (football to the rest of the world) fan and the crowds are super loud and noisy but its ok because the microphones pick up a collective buzz which is never a problem, but in tennis rowdy boisterous goups are grating and not fun to listen to, mostly I think because of the acoustics. But its pretty amazing how partisan the Aussie open has become in recent times.


kt Says:

Australia’s got a lot of migrants and many of those cheer for their country of origin, it’s not something new really. More like countries who previously didn’t have much of a sporting presence now making a mark through tennis, leading to the support.


Mary Says:

Dokic: Do the federations pay for any training? I realize this may have taken place while she lived in the US, but don’t the Aussie’s offer to help pay for training if the player is in Australia? It is interesting that the game has such a sleazy nature.

Von: You posted on an earlier page about how so many win their first slame at the AO. The past three years have had suprising runnerups. After watching Blake play last night, he may stand a good chance.


Giner Says:

jane Says:

“btw, no one mentioned the crowds during the Gonzo vs. Gasquet match, but they were incredibly rowdy too! Wow – lots of nationalists in Oz or something?

Giner – fill us in.”

I didn’t see the match so I can’t say. There are a lot of nationalists living in melbourne, but they tend to be of a different nationality than australian. The Greeks, Swedes, and Croatians in particularly can be very passionate. Australians are too but in my opinion they are fair except in Davis Cup. I saw the Dementieva-Stosur match, and I couldn’t complain at all about the crowd.

I am a bit surprised that this happened during Gonzo and Gasquet’s match. Gonzo does say he gets a lot of Chilean support in Australia though, so maybe that was a factor. The only real incident so far was in the Djokovic-Delic tussle, but Serbs do have a number of ancient hostilities with Albanians, Croats, and Bosnians according to my Serbian colleague whose dad beat the crap out of him when he took home a Croatian girl.

The simple answer is yes. There are a lot of nationalists here, however I’d be surprised if this wasn’t the case anywhere else. Baghdatis and Tsonga are very popular with the crowds in Melbourne, and any Swede player. Are they popular elsewhere?

kt Says:

“Australia’s got a lot of migrants and many of those cheer for their country of origin, it’s not something new really. More like countries who previously didn’t have much of a sporting presence now making a mark through tennis, leading to the support.”

That’s true. It’s very multicultural, and the foreign ethnicities are more vocal than the Australians.

“Dokic: Do the federations pay for any training? I realize this may have taken place while she lived in the US, but don’t the Aussie’s offer to help pay for training if the player is in Australia? It is interesting that the game has such a sleazy nature.”

They do, but the Aussie training program is crappy. She tried to come back in 2006 I think and got a wild card into the draw, losing in the first round after holding match point in the second set to Razzano then having a meltdown (already the Aussie crowd was on her side). She would not win a tour level match until 2008. In 07 and 08 she fell during qualifying. She’s had a marvelous recovery year in 08 to have done this well. She is the only Australian remaining in either draw.

“Von: You posted on an earlier page about how so many win their first slame at the AO. The past three years have had suprising runnerups. After watching Blake play last night, he may stand a good chance.”

AO has a lot of surprise finalists who make their first GS final in Melbourne, but never reach another final ever again. Lots of Cinderella stories from men who win the hearts of the crowd (they loved Gonzo, Baggy, and Tsonga the last 3 years).

“I ve been surprised and impressed by how the Aussies have welcomed back Dokic. It seems like a combination of factors. It probably matters that Australia lacks a genuine top player in tennis and are therefore relatively eager to adopt a player who is not entirely homegrown. I was in Australia for a few months a couple of years ago and found the Victorians to be a wonderfully warm lot, not so much as you go north. But the most significant factor is probably how Dokic has handled it, she’s has been repeatedly apologetic, emotional, and very grateful, something that never fails to sway a receptive group of people.”

That’s a good explanation, but what I don’t understand is why they took so unkindly to her defecting to SCG. I understand we were short on talent and she wasn’t a bad player, but the reaction was very malicious. Some wanted her stabbed, some cursed her to suffer the worst fate imaginable. I doubt Serbians reacted as vitriolic when she defected back. Australia has been the beneficiary of a few defections itself with Rodionova (RUS) and Gajdosova (SVK) to name a couple, and I haven’t heard about their respective countries being angered by it.


Giner Says:

In other news, Verdasco got his revenge against Stepanek from Sydney in fine fashion, with a double bagel.

Jankovic just narrowly avoided a bagel herself to Bartoli in the first set (Bartoli had set points on JJ’s serve to take it 6-0). I love seeing bagels. It’s like a car wreck pile up. You don’t see them often, and they’re morbidly fascinating.


Ryan Says:

Like I said before……..the only challenge for nadal in his draw is from the semis onwards.
Haas is 30 years old……how can we expect someone like him to trouble nadal.Just look at Safin for example…….wat he did to fed this time and wat he did to him 4 years ago.


jane Says:

Ryan – just came here looking for you. Cilic took the first set hey?

Giner- thx for the reply re: nationalism in the Oz stands, and beyond.


Giner Says:

World no.1 Jankovic just got ousted by Bartoli 6-1 6-4. Her no.1 ranking is in jeopardy. I believe three girls still in the draw can take her place by winning the title.

It’s hard to see Serena not winning it now.

Justine Henin could have added 3 or 4 slams had she not retired. Adding another French Open would have been a near certainty at the very least.


Ryan Says:

I was there for the Gonzalez match and the crowd was almost racially divided for their support. The chilean fans were fully supporting their man and the others were supporting gasquet. There were even boos coming from the crowd when Gonzalez was about to win that tie break with some great winners.However , this American girl that I met came with me to this match and she was fully supporting Gonzalez….as for the Cilic match well its tight……both are pretty even at this stage with one set a piece.


Ryan Says:

To Jane

It seems that del is serving better than cilic and cilic is more error prone especially in those long rallies.I guess I was wrong in my assessment.


jane Says:

Ryan,

Not entirely wrong; I just think it’s a matter of consistency and hunger. Cilic has a lot of game but he needs to cut down on the errors. JMDP has proven he wants to be up there with the big boys. I think he wants another shot at Federer.

btw, I am totally jealous you were at the Gasquet/Gonzo match!!


Danica Says:

“Australia’s got a lot of migrants and many of those cheer for their country of origin, it’s not something new really. More like countries who previously didn’t have much of a sporting presence now making a mark through tennis, leading to the support.”

Kt,
I tend to disagree. Serbs and Croats are very vocal but they had, either with Yugoslavia or separately, huge achievements in sports world over. Same goes for Swedes. It’s more of a nationalistic (I don’t mean it in a negative way) pride than anything. Leaving the country of origin doesn’t at all mean automatic support for the addoptive country.


Giner Says:

Ryan, are you Australian, or just visiting for the Open?

Top story: Djokovic, Murray Advance At US Open, Azarenka Survives; Federer, Monfils v Dimitrov Tuesday
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