Can Nadal Keep it Going in Miami?
by Sean Randall | March 25th, 2009, 5:27 pm
  • 109 Comments

Well, I got one right. Picking Rafael Nadal to win Indian Wells that is. But can and will Rafa continue his domination, and will I pick him to complete the cross-continental ATP tennis double by winning IW and Miami back-to-back? As much as I like his draw, right now, I have to say no.

Nadal of course has never won Miami – he’s twice been runner-up – but this year he lands in Key Biscayne as the far and away best player in the world. But not necessarily unbeatable. While being the last man standing is always impressive at a Masters event, Rafa didn’t really play his best tennis really until the final when he handily battered Andy Murray in a windstorm. Considering the conditions and the opponent, it was a pretty clean match from Rafa, but I’m still not convinced he’s at that level we saw from him in Australia.

Peeking at Nadal’s draw however, it’s tough to see anyone derailing the Spaniard early on. Looks like Rafa will get the slumping Dr. Ivo Karlovic in round three. Then in the fourth round I’ll pick the World No. 1 to beat Stan Wawrinka. His quarterfinal opponent will be among four players in a tough section of the draw: David Ferrer, Marin Cilic, Juan Martin Del Potro and Jurgen Melzer. I’m going to take Ferrer to be that guy to beat DelPo and then I’m going out on a limb and picking Ferrer to pull the upset over his countryman Nadal.

With his prized clay season just around the corner and with the Australian Open and IW already in his bag, I’m not sure if Rafa’s going to be as determined to win in Miami as he usually would have been. Just speculation, but Uncle Tony and crew may pull the reigns back just a little on Rafa. Who knows but that’s what I’m banking on in this case.

In the second quarter, I think Murray, even though he played poorly in the IW final, showed to me that he’s back to near if not at full strength. So I like him to get through beating Mardy Fish, David Nalbandian and then Fernando Gonzalez en route.

In the bottom half, the third quarter is pretty wide open with a lot of question mark players like Gilles Simon, James Blake, Tomas Berdych and Novak Djokovic. The only guy playing steady this year – I know he was upset early in IW – in my opinion is Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and I’m picking him again to get the Final Four just like I did last week. I like Tsonga’s draw enough that he should get over on Simon in the 16s and then Novak who he owns of late in the quarters.

In the final quarter, looks like we’re header for another hype-fileld Roger Federer-Andy Roddick showdown. Although Roddick’s got long road ahead with the young, rising Argentine Diego Junqueira right out of the gates, then Tommy Haas followed by my man, Gael Monfils who better go a couple rounds this week! Federer’s draw looks promising for the Swiss. Nicolas Kiefer in the third round can never be taken lightly, and Tommy Robredo could scratch a set off Fed, but Roger should be okay in his section, and that’s a good because he’s slowing getting the point where he needs good draws to survive. And in the Federer-Roddick quarterfinal matchup, I’ll take Federer again.

So my semifinals are Ferrer v. Murray and Tsonga v. Federer. How many people have that one? Anyone? Not many I bet. And for my champion, I’m picking Murray over Tsonga. I really want to roll the dice and pick Tsonga, but I can’t bring myself to do it. It seems like every time I pick the French things usually fall apart. Lesson learned so Murray it is. Great Scot.

A few housekeeping issues. I’ve read that Kim Clijsters is returning to tennis. Not much of surprise really and I now fully expect her countrywoman, Justine Henin, to follow suit within the next 12-18 months and comeback to tennis. I’ve said it before, unless you are seriously injured, it’s amazing how difficult it is for pro athletes of any sport to stay un-retired these days. The inner competitive spirit never really flickers out and more often than not homelife and 9-to-5 just doesn’t cut it.

Speaking of the WTA, tennis is sure in a state of transition at the top. Just in the last six months tennis has lost top dawgs in the USTA’s Arlen Kantarian, ATP’s ET and now the WTA’s Larry Scott has announced he will leave his CEO post to run the PAC-10 this summer. ET aside, I can’t blame either Arlen or Larry for their decisions to get out of tennis. While tennis continues to be strong overseas, here in the U.S. the sport remains a very, very tough sell – one had to look no further than our TV sets this weekend and see how far the quality of coverage has fallen as proof (thanks FSN!) – and with a serious lack of American stars on the horizon coupled with the sliding global economy, it’s likely only to get that much harder ahead.

Tennis in the U.S. will rebound someday, hopefully sooner rather than later.


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109 Comments for Can Nadal Keep it Going in Miami?

jane Says:

Baghdatis pounded out Gulbis 6-2, 6-2. Hmmmm… could this be his resurrection? He’s certainly a talented if erratic player, but he played well against Djoko at the AO too; that was a very fun match to watch actually, some great shot-making from both guys. It’s a pleasure to watch Baggy when he’s on song so I hope he’s back in the mix this year and that this is a sign of better things to come. I believe he said his goal (to the press, during the AO) was to reach the top ten before he ever considers leaving tennis.


Von Says:

There were a few good matches today. Santoro d. Belucci, Russell d. Hanescu, Youzhny d. Chardy, Dancevic d. Kohlschreiber, and Kukushkin d. Haas. These results have opened up the bottom half for the top seeds very nicely.


Von Says:

MMT: Good news. That 1975 Ashe v. Connors match is being re-broadcasted on TC on Sunday, March 29th at 1:00 pm, followed by Becker v. Doohan, and the 5 Best Chokes — schedule your DVR.


jane Says:

Von, That means Dancevic, my country man, will take on Novak – will be fun to watch. Two years ago at the Roger’s Cup, Dancevic gave Nadal a good run for his money. He also knocked out Nalbandian at Wimbledon last summer, so he can get hot now and then. I just wish he was more consistent.


sensationalsafin Says:

Why do people think Tsonga is gonna beat Federer?


jane Says:

To a degree, I wonder the same sensationalsafin. Fed and Tsonga have played only once and Fed cleaned up 6-4, 6-1, on indoor hard court in Spain last year. Mind you, I don’t think Tsonga played his best in that match, but still. I would tend to pick Fed over Tsonga only because I think Tsonga presents Fed with exactly the type of opposition he savours – power hitters who go for broke. Tsonga, of course, has lovely touch as well, so if he could get up to net more it’s possible that he could trouble Fed. Their match up is still too new to say much more about it. I would look forward to another encounter between them just to see where it would go.


Von Says:

jane: Yes, I saw that and I wondered how you’d like Dancevic v. Djoko. I always remember Dancevic at the ’07 AO playing against Gonzalez on one of the smaller courts, had a bad call and lost the match. He had Gonzalez on the ropes. He’s a very good player, but has fallen off a bit and he does run hot and cold, more cold than hot over the past 2 years.
________________
As I’ve mentioned before, Tsonga becomes all thumbs when he plays against Federer. He makes very silly mistakes and I don’t see him beating Federer. It’ll probabaly be Fed v. Tsonga in the SF, but it could be Djoko also, except that Tsonga seems to have Djoko’s number.


jane Says:

Von, why are you picking Fed over A-Rod for the semi? Andy beat Roger in Miami last year, and Andy is playing really well right now. In a best of three, he certainly has a shot at the upset anyhow.

I’d be surprised if Djoko made it to the semis given his current form and that there is some good players in his section, but you never know. Baghdatis could maybe beat Djoko in best of 3. Marcos is a great player when he is on his best form.

Oh well – guess we’ll find out soon enough….


Von Says:

jane: I guess it’s a matter of going with what’s the norm. Don’t forget Andy has a tough second round with the young Argentine and he also has Monfils who can be problematic for Andy at times. I’ll just play it by ear but I’m not hoping for much. He has SF points to defend and it would be a shame if he doesn’t, but those are the breaks.
______________
tenisbebe: Did you see my post to you regarding Roddick and his IW performance


tenisbebe Says:

Von: Yes I saw it on the “Backhands..” thread and copied again on another thread (but I can’t remember which one). I posted a response to you on the “Awards” thread saying that I would try to address the Roddick IW performance thing I brought up on the “Backhands: thread tomorrow. To clarify, I didn’t see a post from you detailing what your thoughts were in regards to his play in the semis so if you did, please let me know on which thread there are posted (I’m getting so confused with all these threads…).


Von Says:

tenisbebe: I didn’t post my thoughts on the matter. Yes, these threads are confusing the heck out of me. The confusion matches my mood on tennis at the moment. I need to find another sport to replace tennis and have begun watching basketball again. Hopefully, I’ll be able to see the matches on TV more often through ESPN 360.com as opposed to scrounging around looking for some decent tennis TV coverage. Absolutely frustrating.


tenisbebe Says:

Sean – what’s with the picture of Rafa in the polo garb from Dubai? He looks about 4 ft tall in that photo – weird.


koalakoala Says:

Sean

I have a impression that your “go out on a limb” predictions seem to be bad bets most of the time.

Nadal will win only because you go against him, I think.


angelrose Says:

Tsonga should handle Federer fairly easy in straight sets because of Roger’s lack of confidence and coming off his “so called” injured back which kept him out of Davis Cup play vs. the USA. Alot of ticket buyers for the event were very angry at Roger for faking it to just practice for Indian Wells… IF that is what Federer did.


frankie Says:

Can Nadal keep going in Miami?

Well, yes, quite frankly. He’s streaks ahead of the field. In fact, I’m reckoning Nadal may even be the only one of the current top 4 to reach the semis there…


Pietjep Says:

Hi everybody, Sean,

Just of the press: Fed says he has absolutely no fear of Nadal (or Murray). Check the pre tournament interview on the Miami site.

He is bolstering his own credits again; “I know how to play and beat him, I’ve done many times before” and “It’s not in my head”

Now that says it all to me: no chance in hell he will beat Nadal any time soon. Getting out of denial is the first step towards salvation………………..

Rgrds, Pietje


melia Says:

I’m not sure if Rafa’s going to be as determined to win in Miami

Sean,Rafa wants this, believe me

my man, Gael Monfils

Don’t worry Sean, he’ll retire again

Kim Clijsters is returning to tennis.

Bored housewife, tire of diapers, needs quick cash
infusion


I like tennis bullies Says:

as long as princess federer is humiliated and loses again I will be happy


Nadal is the GOAT Says:

I like tennis bullies Says:
“as long as princess federer is humiliated and loses again I will be happy”

And so will be I. Just one correction- it will be princess “Federina”.


MMT Says:

Von: thanks for the tip on the Wimbledon upsets and Best of 5 chokes. Hopefully I’ll get the matches in their entirety this time. As for the chokes, that’s going to be interesting. My top five chokes are as follows:

1. Jana Novotna losing to Graf at Wimbledon final in 1993. After losing the first set in a tie-break, she won the second 6-1 and was up a break at 4-1 and 40-15 before losing the next FIVE games in a row and losing the match. She famously cried on the shoulder of the Duchess of Kent after her collapse, although steadfastly refusing to admit she choked later in interviews…ahem.

2. Martina Navratilova, on the verge of winning a calendar year slam in 1984, and on a 74-match winning streak, having won the last 6 grand slam tournaments in a row, lost her Australian Open semi-final in December to Helena Sukova 1–6, 6–3, 7–5. She’d beaten Sukova 3 times in a row at that point, and went on to win the next 13 matches in a row, but I’m sure she would have traded all of them for that one victory. It was only the second loss of the year for Navratilova in 1984. She won the Australian Open the year before and the year after, but most likely would have traded both of them for the historically significant 1984 title.

Sukova went on to lose the final to Chris Evert and never won a singles slam in her career.

3. John McEnroe, up 2 set to 0 and a break at 4-2 against Ivan Lendl at the French Open final in 1984 proceeded to lose the next 4 games in a row for the set, and the next 2 sets, robbing him of his one and only legitimate chance to win his only clay slam. McEnroe lost just one other time in the entirety of 1984.

4. Jack Crawford, after losing the first set of the US Championships in 1933, had won the second and third against Fred Perry, who’s best slam result that year was a quarterfinal at the french, went on to win just 1 out of the next 12 games and the final 2 sets. An asthmatic who apparently wilted in the heat and humidity for Forest Hills, Crawford had a chance to become the first calendar year grand slam winner. In fact, according to Bud Collins, this phrase was coined specifically for this possibility in 1933 by New York Times columnist John Kieran, an avid bridge player, who was referring to a high scoring set in the card game (and not as is often thought, a baseball reference to scoring 4 runs with a “grand slam” home run). Crawford never won the US Championships in his career, and only added 1 more slam, the 1935 Australian Championships, to his resume after this loss – that victory ironically came against Fred Perry for a semi-sweet revenge.

5. Not having lost a home Davis Cup tie since 1998, Argentina, with 2 players in the top 10 looked like a shoe-in to defeat Spain at the Davis Cup final in 2008, who had just one player in the top 20 in the squad, and were without talismanic Rafa Nadal. Squandering a 1-0 lead from Nalbandian’s opending rubber victory over David Ferrer, Argentina proceeded to lose the next 3 matches in a row, and squandered their best chance in years to win the coveted cup. Pivotal in the match was the loss by #7 ranked Juan Martin del Potro to Feliciano Lopez, whose career singles record was 2-4 at the time, and to that point had won just ONE live singles rubber FOUR YEAR EARLIER back in 2004.

Can’t wait to see their loss.


MMT Says:

Pietjep said: “He is bolstering his own credits again; ‘I know how to play and beat him, I’ve done many times before’ and ‘It’s not in my head’”

You said to check the tournament site for the interview, so I assumed these were direct quotes from Federer, but it turns out NOWHERE in that interview do those quotes appear. Were you referring to another interview? I’m referring to this one:

http://www.sonyericssonopen.com/3/en/assets/pdfs/interviews/federer032509.pdf.

The full question and answer regarding playing Rafa is as follows:

Q. Down the line in this tournament, if you end up having to play Rafa again, do you play him differently, or do you still go out and play your regular game? Do you feel at some point you need to change the way you play against him?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I play as well as I can against him. I’ve tried many different things against Rafa. It depends a lot also on the conditions, you know. You look at the finals last week. Both couldn’t play the way they usually play because the wind was howling, you know. You have to adapt to the conditions. Is it really hot? Is it windy? Is it cool? Is it day? Is it night? All those kinds of things matter in tennis.

Usually, it’s the aggressive playing style that makes me beat Rafa. And especially on the hardcourts, you know, I didn’t get that many chances if I look back. I’ve had so many more times on clay.

You know, on a hardcourt I have to play aggressive against him. There’s no way around that. I know how I have to play him. I’ve beat him enough to know.


Von Says:

MMT: You’re welcome. I’m looking forward to the 5 chokes as well and have set the faithful DVR to tape it. Thanks for the heads up on what you feel are the chokes and I’m certainly going to look for them. I’ll print out your picks and check mark as I see each one. I’d bet you got about 90% correctly. Your vast knowledge of the sport has me humbled, since I know so very little. I had written the following post to you a few days ago, but since you didn’t reply, I figured you didn’t see it, so here goes:
_______________
Von Says:
MMT: That’s a bummer. I think FIOS is encountering some technical problems with their DVR recordings. There’s a glitch in the system that they’ve not been able to fix for over a year. I got this info right from the horse’s mouth. I had a dreadful experience one day when I tried to view one of my recordings. All of them were gone, and there was a message from FIOS stating if that happened to reset/reboot, etc., which I did, and was able to retrieve the previous ones, but my recordings for that day were null and void — bummer.

From the info I was given, I now manually record episodes individually instead of by series. It’s a problem, but it’s safer. On long matches, such as Wimby, I record the next program or programs for another hour following the matches, because if there’s an overflow, it’ll be picked up on the next program. The FIOS problem concerns feeds and signals coming in, and according to my source they change all of the time. From experimenting, I’ve learnt that I can record more shows on standard TV as opposed to HD, without my box becoming full. Maybe, you can try that on TC which has a standard and an HD channel. If I’m watching, I watch on the HD channel, but if I’m recording I use the standard.
______________

Your love for the Connors/Ashe/McEnroe era has become infectious, and I now enjoy watching those guys play, thank you for so generously sharing — it’s greatly appreciated.

Question: Don’t you think Connors would have been blown off the court had he played in this era? The guy had a poor excuse for a serve and he wasn’t any kind of dynamo on the court, except he did construct his points quite cunningly, and drove through the court on the final shot. I think he was lucky to have played in that era, because he would have perished in the present.

I watched Johnny Mc being interviewed after one of his Pepsi GS matches and was taken aback as to his almost shy demeanour. Now I know he was madness personified on the court, but there’s a stark contrast to this man, who I feel is quite a shy type of guy. Amazing …

Posted March 24th, 2009 at 5:25 pm
___________________
Try my tips on recording using standard as opposed to HD format and you’ll be able to save more programs on your DVR. The FIOS guy told me that it’s against the company’s policy to record on a regular DVD recorder due to copyrights, etc., and not wanting to break the law I am complying, but it’s awfully tempting to record and have a library of those Wimby matches and the 5 best series. Bummer, is all I can say.


MMT Says:

I’m sure TC will agree with McEnroe, Novotna, and Navratilova may get an honorable mention, but I don’t think Crawford or Argentina will.

And great advice on the FIOS. HD does fill up quickly, but I do think the picture quality is worth it particularly on old matches. On live matches I do record after the scheduled event, but because this was scheduled for 2 hours, I assumed they were doing a summary and not the whole thing.

Could you clarify, “…it’s against the company’s policy to record on a regular DVD recorder due to copyrights, etc.,” – I don’t quite understand what you mean, but want to abide by the law!

I’m so glad you enjoy the late 70′s era. To me, watching them is like getting a peak at the tennis club on Mt. Olympus.

I think Jimmy Connors would have been a (much) better Lleyton Hewitt in the modern era. His serve was soft (often unfairly blamed on being coached by women) but in those days it was more about placement and controlling the point.

Connors was far more talented than most modern players IMO. He had more variety, was a better volleyer, much better movement, and just generally more resourceful particularly as he aged. My guess is he’d probably have won as many slams as he did if not more. I mean if Fabrice Santoro can still compete, certainly Jimmy Connors would win regularly. This, I say, as I stick a fork in my thigh at the thought of Connors in the modern era.

A better question is how the clowns of today would fair with a wood racquet in their hands? Modern spins and serves would be impossible with old equipment: racquets 3 times as heavy, no sticky grip, endless towel/bathroom/medical breaks, etc. No gatorade or bananas and half the matches on clay or grass courts?

Fahgetaboutit.

I don’t know if you’ve read McEnroe’s memoir “Serious” but it’s a great read and the way he describes himself off the court is far closer to what you saw in that interview with Tony Trabert. One subtext I should point out – Trabert, the interviewer, was also the Davis Cup captain at the time, and that mattered to McEnroe, so he was very polite and even comically ingratiating himself to a man with a lot more authority than he cared to thumb his nose at.

Also, the press went out of their way to describe Vilas as a poet and an artist, and sensitive, etc., and McEnroe I think very correctly revealed himself to be a very normal 20 year old kid.

McEnroe may have behaved terribly on court, but he was so honest and genuine to the point of vulnerability off the court, particularly when he lost, that it’s really hard for me to dislike him.

In his memoirs, he indicates his behavior got worse as expectations on him began to increase. When he was a kid surprising everyone he was much nicer on an off the court. By 1984, at the peak of his powers, on court he had become intolerable.

His parents, Katy and John McEnroe, Sr., who had pulled themselves up by the bootstraps to provide a very easy life for him and his brothers growing up (his father made partner in a law firm after putting himself through law school at night), always encouraged him to stand up for himself, which is what they viewed him as doing when he was arguing line calls. I wonder if they felt the same during his profanity laced tirades? Apparently he got his temper and language from his mother, a strong and demanding woman, so maybe it was par for the course. His father was known at the time as one of the very first domineering tennis parents – he mangaged all his business affairs and all his legal matters.

Speaking of his parents, can you guess what his nickname was on tour before he made it big?

Junior.


Von Says:

MMT: “Could you clarify, “…it’s against the company’s policy to record on a regular DVD recorder due to copyrights, etc.,” – I don’t quite understand what you mean, but want to abide by the law!”

According to the FIOS guy, who repaired my DVR problem, actually he gave me a new one, because he thought “I was a nice lady” tah, dah, LOL, some programs cannot be recorded due to copyrights. This happenend to me. I tried recording a movie and a message came up regarding copyrights, and it wouldn’t record. Another time, I recorded a program, only to see it erased before my eyes. It was due to that problem and the series management flaw that prompted my repair service call. It’s now a trial and error thing for me. However, the TC programs have not caused any problems for me on the DVR, but I haven’t tried recording on the DVR and then copying to the DVD, which the technician says cannot be done. With Brighthouse I used to receive a prompt which asked “Do you want to copy this to a DVD”, but that doesn’t happen with FIOS. I’d like to hook up both of them and use the recording and copy feature.
_____________
Ref: Johnny Mc, I was extremely surprised at his shyness. He looked like a sweet little boy, talking to his dad, in his interview. It’s amazing how he transforms into an irrascible demon on court.

I haven’t seen enough of Connors to figure out his strategy and briliance. I daresay that the new strings have made many players look like they are geniuses. It’s amazing what miracles technology can perform.

“..racquets 3 times as heavy, no sticky grip, endless towel/bathroom/medical breaks, etc. No gatorade or bananas and half the matches on clay or grass courts?”

I often wonder about the foregoing myself.


Von Says:

Sean Randall:

FYI, Robbie Koenig stopped by to say ‘hello’. You can find his post on:

http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2009-03-20/992.php

His is the second to last post on 3/26/09 at 2:54 am.


Von Says:

We should all take a page out of the players’ books — while we are jawing each other, they are busy smooching, partying and having fun. And, don’t they look handsome. I think tennis has the most handsome guys, but then I’m a bit partial.


sar Says:

I kind of miss Davydenko. He seems like such a nice person. Hope he gets better.


tenisbebe Says:

Von says:
“And, don’t they look handsome. I think tennis has the most handsome guys, but then I’m a bit partial.” Yes – Tennis & skiing. Von, you can’t jump ship & switch to basketball!! Only for the remainder of March Madness, then I expect you back here in full force. Just think – you could be an American Football fan & have to suffice with all the games played basically one day a week over a relatively short season, and then get to listen to the pundit blathering during the week about nothing.


fedster Says:

Ha ha, Nadal’s the GOAT & I like tennis bullies, so you two people finally got some break from Rafa butt-licking after so many hours!


grendel Says:

“Nadal is the GOAT Says:
I like tennis bullies Says:
“as long as princess federer is humiliated and loses again I will be happy”

And so will be I. Just one correction- it will be princess “Federina”.”

Observing this touching accord of minds, I had a vision. I LIKE TENNIS BULLIES and NADAL IS THE GOAT were strolling along the road one day, when they happened to catch sight of each other. Communion was instant. They drew close and stared. For a long time, no words were uttered as they drunk in each other’s presence. Finally, I LIKE TENNIS BULLIES shifted uneasily.
“Well, what d’you want?” he said gruffly. NADAL IS THE GOAT simpered.

“Ooh, I do like the way you talk!”

“Yeah, well” said I LIKE TENNIS BULLIES, trying not to preen himself, “get on with it. I’m a busy man, got an important meeting to chair.”
“What is is?” NADAL IS THE GOAT asked shyly.
“It’s the “Federer is a gay necrophiliac wanker club”.
“oo-ooh! Can I join? Please, please, pretty pretty please?” NADAL IS THE GOAT jumped up and down clapping his little hands, whilst I LIKE TENNIS BULLIES regarded him dubiously. NADAL IS THE GOAT then fluttered his eyelids, and that did the trick.
“Come on, then” I LIKE TENNIS BULLIES said curtly. NADAL IS A GOAT timidly put his hand on I LIKE TENNIS BULLIES’ wrist, letting it linger for a second.
“What?” said I LIKE TENNIS BULLIES. The tone, whilst surly, nevertheles had that in it which afforded NADAL IS A GOAT a degree of encouragement.
“We-ell, ” he said, the beginnings of a smile hovering on the corner of his pretty little lips.
“Get on with it!” said I LIKE TENNIS BULLIES. But his voice was hoarse, and he found himself strangely unable to move.

NADAL IS A GOAT smiled. I LIKE TENNIS BULLIES practically fell over with shock. NADAL IS A GOAT moved a step closer.

“You’ve got such big hands,” he whispered.
“Yeah, well” said I LIKE TENNIS BULLIES. NADAL IS A GOAT gave his hair an enchanting little flick. I LIKE TENNIS BULLIES staggered. NADAL IS A GOAT gazed deep into I LIKE TENNIS BULLIES’ eyes. I LIKE TENNIS BULLIES clutched at a nearby railing for support.

“Can I hold your hand?” NADAL IS A GOAT asked submissively. I LIKE TENNIS BULLIES noted the change of tone, and held himself up straight.
“Yeah, alright then.” I LIKE TENNIS BULLIES walked masterfully along the pavement, dragging a giggling NADAL IS A GOAT along, until he suddenly realised he had no idea where he was going. He stopped, and looked suspiciously at his partner.
“Oi, what you playing at?” he snarled. NADAL IS A GOAT made little clucking, pacifying noises in his throat. “It’s alright, darling” he said. “I live just round the corner”.
“Oh,” said I LIKE TENNIS BULLIES. Then he looked suspiciously at NADAL IS A GOAT.
“What’s that got to do with anything?” NADAL IS A GOAT sighed patiently.
“I thought you might like to, you know..”
“Might like to what? What’s your bloody game?” I LIKE TENNIS BULLIES snarled.
NADAL IS A GOAT batted his eyelids winningly, remembering that had seemed to do the trick before. “I thought perhaps WE could, you know..” And NADAL IS A GOAT daringly traced the tips of his fingers over I LIKE TENNIS BULLIES’ mid-bulge. Enlightenment dawned.

“Oh, I get it,” said I LIKE TENNIS BULLIES with a trace of jauntiness, “You want me to give you the old bang bang, eh?”
“Oh, you are naughty, I LIKE TENNIS BULLIES!” giggled NADAL IS A GOAT, his lips slightly open. I LIKE TENNIS BULLIES smirked.
“Yeah, well!” he said. NADAL IS A GOAT gazed at him adoringly. “So you’ll come?” he whispered softly. I LIKE TENNIS BULLIES gazed about him imperiously, unconsciously beating a little tattoo on his chest.
“Yeah, alright then, ” he said.
And then, I awoke.


jane Says:

Von, I guess Roddick should be back in the top five after this week since Davydenko is not defending his title. He just likely needs to go a couple of rounds here to get that boost in rankings!

Re: Dancevic – I was reading a Canadian article which mentioned that Frankie has been injured, so that explains why he’s fallen off a bit, though he is still a rather streaky / erratic player.

I am going to search for streaming as Safin is playing. I think I read though that streaming won’t begin until Saturday, which, if true, is a shame, as there are some good match ups scheduled for today.

WHY do tennis fans have to BEG for coverage – or else PAY??!!!!!!


zola Says:

Jane,

***WHY do tennis fans have to BEG for coverage – or else PAY??!!!!!!***

the ATP tennis tv does not even start coverage until Saturday. Pathertic! Then they search their brains to see why tennis is not as popular as they wish?duh!

Seems Rafa is pretty serious about Miami. Uncle Toni is there and he is playing doubles. If Rafa doesn’t win Miami, I hope it goes to Roddick.


gordon Says:

We here in Canada, do not have any coverage from Miami. Is there any video stream on internet where we can see the matches?


jane Says:

gordon – I am in Canada too and have looked at all of the usual streaming sites; I cannot find anything for today. Apparently ATP coverage begins tomorrow, which means there should be some streaming available beginning tomorrow.


Duro Says:

Jane, your Dancevic plays against Novak: 4:1 for Nole at the moment. For whom do you root for?


jane Says:

Hi Duro,

Because Novak needs so desperately to do well at Miami, in order to boost his waning confidence, I am rooting for him. I do like Dancevic’s game, but I want to see him become a more consistent player; he tends to have big wins now and again but then loses in the next round. Those are hard players to get behind. Furthermore, I will not stop rooting for Novak solely because Dancevic is from Canada; it’s not that simple for me. I feel like Djoko needs this win more, so I am rooting for him.


jane Says:

Duro – are you able to watch this online or on TV or are you following only scores, like me?


gordon Says:

Yes, but we can watch curling – for last three weeks, poker and billiard… What a choices!

Anyway Djokovic got a first set 6:3!


jane Says:

gordon, I empathize believe me! By tomorrow there should be some free streaming up online so at least we’ll be able to watch after that.


Duro Says:

Only scores, so frustrating… What’s the problem with them??? Gordon’s talking about poker and billiard, I can watch only skating… I want to create a tennis television to cover tennis, talk tennis, think tennis, advertise tennis, love tennis 24 hours per day! Will you support me on this?


jane Says:

Yeah Duro, well there is something called “the Tennis Channel” but I am not sure even it has coverage right now! It is crazy; this, they say, is one of the biggest events outside the Grand Slams, and we cannot even see the top players playing today: e.g., Safin, Djoko, Roddick and Federer are all playing at some point today. SHEESH!


jane Says:

Novak should be getting in more first serves; imo, he needs to be in the high 60s or low 70s AT LEAST. This won’t cut it against the stronger players. Sure, he has a good second serve, but he is putting himself too much at risk for getting broken. He could also strengthen his returns; I used to see him as one of the best returners out there, with Rafa and Ferrer, but now Murray is stronger in that department.

I am happy his is winning, and that he held on that long game, but I’d like to see him up his first serves anyhow.


Duro Says:

Sheesh indeed! That tennis Chanel is pay per view and it sucks! I wont to thank you for rooting for Nole, this is grate from you regarding that you’re from Canada. Great example of the true tennis love.


jane Says:

Good job Novak; keep up the good work! Too bad it had to be against Dancevic and I couldn’t watch. Grrrrr….


gordon Says:

Does anyone know how many unforced errors Nole had in a match. That will be good indicator how well did he played…


gordon Says:

To Von:
>I think tennis has the most handsome guys, but then I’m a bit partial

Thanks Von ;)


jane Says:

gordon, as the online scoreboard doesn’t list UEs I have no idea how many he made, but you’re right that it would be a good indication. If he can cut down on errors AND get his serve firing consistently, then we’d be back in business. =D


gordon Says:

I hope that he played more agresive game (based on a result). What concerns me is that he needs to defend six brake points. I am just too concern due to his racquet change…


Von Says:

Seems like my last survey input didn’t make an impression with ATP. I have to use stronger words, and then maybe they’ll do something, except they only limit me to 100 words — that’s not much for someone as verbose as I am. Shucks, I’m just warming up at around 75 words.

This nonsense with FSN and ATP is getting out of hand. How could ATP agree to allow FSN to call the shots in such an important tournament? I don’t get it. And, it’s not as though FSN is currently showing any high rated matches in college basketball; oh no, they’re presently showing a high-school team playing and Poker on the other channel. If I see another poker show I think I’m going to scream. I think this whole situation of “rights” is wrong!! OK I’m off to watch my Figure Skating.
____________
Gordon: You’re welcome, but as you know I’m partial. I think figure skating has some very cute guys too and the girls are just so very sweet and graceful. The WTA pales in comparison to the figure skating ladies.
____________
jane: “If he can cut down on errors AND get his serve firing consistently, then we’d be back in business.” Ahem, “we’d” — so it’s now jane/Djoko playing the match against the opponents. LOL. Which half are you, BH or FH. LOL,I couldn’t let that one pass.
_____________
Margot: How about sunshine with a few scattered showers and 78F degree days. Would that be more appropriate? I must warn you though, Florida, where Andy M resides, has a record 342 days per year of sunshine, so we’d have got expect him to shine 342 days per year. I think he can manage that — it’s just small potatoes really for him.
______________
Duro: Would that TV station be in your language? If so, you won’t obtain a whole lot of subscribers. English, bro, Englsh. How’s the 7 kilos worth of dictonaries doing — one more time, download the Google toolbar.


Von Says:

Djoko is getting some help from PH Mathieu. If he beats baggy, who is the more dangerous opponent for Djoko, then Djoko is a shoe-in for the R16.


jane Says:

Von, LOL – by “we’d” I actually meant Djoko and his fans, so including gordon and Duro, who were also around and posting during the match. Looks like Baggy might be getting warmed up in this second set; he just got the break.

Boy that Kevin Kim, whom I have never heard of, came out of the gates firing and had a couple of break points against Federer; but Fed has since righted the ship.


jane Says:

I see Youz is also coming back in his second set against Berdych. I’d imagine a lot of balls are flying low over the net in that match, given that they are a couple of flat, power hitters.


margot Says:

Von: love your faith in my Murray, small potatoes indeed! From here in the UK where we’ve had a long cold Winter and Spring has gone back to sleep, Miami sounds gorgeous. I have a cousin who lives there, perhaps I should try to get to know him better, might even get to see some tennis…..


Duro Says:

Tennis is the language! Ok, I will found one to be in English language exclusively, for every tennis fan in the world. Nole needs smaller Head head.


Sean Randall Says:

Von, FSN probably doesn’t have the money to call the matches today. That would be my guess.

I think with the second round starting a day earlier than IW, weekend coverage does begin a day late.


Duro Says:

So, 3 miles sentences Von, how’s that toolbar working? I write a word in my language and it translates it to English? Or is it English english synonyms dictionary?


Duro Says:

92% of the first serve points won for Nole in the first set. 6 break points saved out of 6, four in the same game and 2 serving for the match. All in all, 62% of Nole’s possibilities!


Von Says:

Margot: I have every ounce of faith in Andy M winning a GS this year.

Miami is just mahvellouz dahling, except I don’t live there. I live a few hours drive away, but my son lives close to Serena in West Palm Beach, where he attends college and works. The whole State of Florida is just one huge vacation world, with beaches, palm trees, bikini girls, those umbrella drinks, parties, madness and tanned bodies. Is that enough excitement for you and the lure to get here pronto? Anyway, I’d sure get to know that cousin better if I were you — nothing like the sunshine to warm up the body. We could meet for lunch if you made the trip. I ran away from the good old UK cold, to NYC, which was cold also, to beautiful Florida. At the time my kids were 7 and 4 and they made out like bandits with the warm weather. The first summer, they played in the pool 8 hours per day, and by the time the summer was over, I didn’t know whose children they were — we looked like night and day. But, they were very beautifully tanned. One only needs to walk around in the sunshine for 30 minutes to obtain a tan. That’s the reason why Andy M looks more healthy nowadays. Sunshine luv, sunshine, and good Vitamin D will do the trick.
_____________
jane: Glad to know that Djoko is playing on his own, and not getting other help. I mean that just wouldn’t be fair, having an extra FH and BH. LOL.


margot Says:

But Grendel I thought they were one person, there can’t be two people on this planet writing such idiotic, repetitive rubbish can there? can there?


jane Says:

My gosh margot – there are many. You don’t cruise the net much do ya?! Lord help us for the amount of rubbish piling up; at least it’s all virtual! The trees would be groaning in pain, weeping green tears, otherwise…


margot Says:

Von: sounds like paradise to me! Which part of the UK do you hail from?
Andy for a GS this year, which one? If there’s to be one this year my money would be on the US Open, his favourite tournament.


margot Says:

Hey jane, Von: are we really all awake at the same time? Wow! Doesn’t happen very often, I’m usually playing catch up!


Von Says:

Sean Randall:

Did you see my post ref: Robbie Koenig? I thought that was very nice of him to give you a plug.

If, as you say, FSN don’t have the money, why did ATP ever get into a contract with them? It is insane to do that and they should have read the fine print or thought about the ramifications unless somebody didn’t quite speak the truth. The Tennis Channel does a wonderful job of covering tournaments, why not break the contract or whatever that’s binding ATP to FSN. I’m sure that wouldn’t be tough because FSN is not living up to their contractual obligations. It stinks. Hello, I now realize why FSN has Gimel commentating, the lack of money, and they probably got him to work for peanuts. It’s no wonder he is fishing for compliments on their time. LOL

The Tennis Channel’s program guide has them covering Miami tomorrow evening at 10:00 pm, I’m thinking it will be delayed broadcasts.


Duro Says:

You Americans never had any problems with money. What’s going on! No money for Miami coverage? Give it to someone else!


Von Says:

Duro: I have the Google toolbar at the top of my web page and I added the dictionary feature. All you have to do is click on the buttons, a window comes up, you type in the word you want to find the meaning of, and click go. The word come up with several meanings and you have to pick the one that’s suited to the context or subject matter. It’s easy. Try it you’ll like it. I use the toolbar for bookmarking tennis sites which are easily accessed and YouTube videos. You can also obtain CNN news and a ton of other stuff.

Here’s a Merriam-Webster dictionary link. You can have this as a toolbar also. Try it:

http://www.aolsvc.merriam-webster.aol.com/

Google toolbar link:

http://www.google.com/intl/en/help/features.html

That Google link has a translation feature. And here’s another one:

http://www.google.com/intl/en/options/

OK now, put away the dictionaries and use the toolbars and let’s not hear anymore complaints about the mile posts. There are a lot of other sites for translation. I’ll post some more later. Until then …. you havce some work to do.


jane Says:

margot – I’d bet on the USO for Murray over Wimbledon too, though wouldn’t it be lovely if he won at home?


Von Says:

Margot: Believe me it’s a sort of paradise, right here on earth. I fell in love with Florida for the crystal clear water and vegetation. I love palm trees. There’s a 9 mile stretch bridge I have to drive over everyday to and from work. It’s all lined with palm trees water on each side of the bridge with the beach on one side. Going home at night the sunset is breathtaking, but also blinding. It’s like a huge orange ball right in front of my windshield which looks so close, it’s as though I could reach up and touch it. Our sunsets are exquisite!

My parents lived in London but I went to school, living with the nuns in Balham. I even thought of becoming a nun until I met my husband and the rest is history. My mum wasn’t happy to see me married at 19, she thought I wouldn’t have a career, but I surprised her, I went to cellege.


Von Says:

Margot: yes, we’re awake. It’s probably midnight at your end, since we’re about 5-6 hours behind you guy and DURO.

Duro: i posted some dictionary links and other stuff for you but my comment is ‘awaiting moderation’ because of the links and it probaably won’t show up for a couple of hours, maybe not at all.

I’ll post one now, to get you stated:

http://www.google.com/intl/en/options/


jane Says:

But what about the crocodiles Von? LOL. But seriously, with all of the retirement age folk mixed with the whacky teens at spring break, it must be a strange sort of place. I have never been but I’d like to go some day.

England I love, and Scotland perhaps even more, which is partly why I have a soft spot for Murray.


jane Says:

Now Simon and Hewitt are playing – man! We’re missing everything. Sigh.


Duro Says:

Jane has a soft spot for everyone. I hate it about her.


Duro Says:

Von, you are sweet! Margot is being excited about all of us being awake, not knowing how it looks to post 3 am… Margot, you owe me an answer!


margot Says:

jane: but they’ve also got manatees and sea eagles and amazing flowers and sunsets as Von says. No, I’ve never been either, but daughter went and she was blown away by the wildlife.
Von: I know South London very well, I lived there for years.
Anyway, goodnight to you both. fingers crossed for Andy tomorrow, hope that one is streamed or I shall be very, very, CROSS!


jane Says:

Duro – now you’re going to hurt my feelings! See, the things is, I love tennis most; I’ve been watching it for over 30 years. So I don’t get overly attached to one player, just the game. Anyhow, you’re entitled to hate my weakness. ;-)

margot – good night to you too.


Von Says:

jane: Te crocodiles are in the swamp lands. I’ve yet to see one crocodile. There are a lot of rich old people here. Especially in West Palm. The “Donald” Trump, has a home there and many of the movie stars and rich celebrities also.

The old people live in different areas and the state has progressed from being predominantly retirees to younger families. I love the mix. I must say the old people dress very nicely as opposed to up North where they are huddled in their coats and look so dreary.


margot Says:

Sorry Duro, just seen your post. Answer? If it’s about Andy M it’s on the other thread, confusing isn’t it? Anyway, I’m sure we’ll have other opportunities to argue about Andy M’s tennis skills. I’ll send you a virtual box of hankies when he gets to No2……night……


jane Says:

That’s true Von; the nice weather must lend itself to a more playful style of dress, less utilitarian. And all that sun! You’ve no shortage of vitamin D, I’ll bet.


Rob Says:

Sean, i like your picks….going against the grain a little.It would certainly be a Herculean effort if Rafa won!!! My only worry is Nalbi for Murray??? Not sure if you saw his first 2 sets against Rafa last week, he was unplayable, but just couldn’t close him out. I guess it just depends on which Nalbi shows up for the tourney…I’m also a big fan of J-W and would love to see him go deep here in Miami. Looking foward to see how it all unfolds…. Not sure if men’s tennis has been this good/exciting for a long time.So many guys in the mix.


Duro Says:

Margot, I already told you to look at my post to Jane, and in the end it says that he’s the ideal number 2 player, the paradigm of it! So, no hankies for me…


Duro Says:

Jane, stop being hurt and be more passionate and exclusive! This is not about tennis entirely. No passion, no life! Pick one (of everything) and stick to it! It’s meaningless otherwise! You must be a Libra…


jane Says:

Sorry Duro – one thing I am passionate about, besides tennis and all sundry of other things, is not taking orders with which I do not agree, and I don’t agree with yours. For me, this is about tennis entirely, and right now Novak is my favorite tennis player; thus I generally root for him. However, I also like a lot of others. So while I want Djoko to win, I would be happy if a number of others did as well. Jeepers: do you have only one friend?!!!

Maybe you see things too much in black and white? Life, to me, is never that straightforward, but is full of crooked paths, which, frankly, I prefer. I’m living, alright!

And no, my friend, I am not a Libra; I am a Cancer, and I am fiercely loyal to my loved ones. On the other hand, in Chinese astrology I am a fire horse – very wayward, apparently, so who knows. I am a liminal beast!

Remember that tennis is just a game. I prioritize my commitments, I guess!


jane Says:

Staff – the text wrap on this thread is whacked out! Could you please repair? Merci!


jane Says:

Well, Simon stomped on Hewitt; maybe he’s got his mojo back?


Duro Says:

Jane, sorry, I obviously hurt your feelings for real. This is the last thing I wanted… Cancer, it’s even more logical, I should have known… (feelings and everything). Ok, maybe some other time than. My deepest apologies!


Duro Says:

Von, thanks for your tool bars! Now you can write and write and write…


Von Says:

Duro: You’re welcome. I hope you practice on them, become proficient and write 3 mile posts as well. Did you try the translator? I didn’t try it out, but a friend who’s Spanish said it works for her.


Von Says:

jane: Djoko’s R16 lock-in is also ensured for the QFs. Meanwhile Roddick’s is not, and I wish it had been different for him since this was a perfect opportunity to get to No. 5 and remain there. He has DelPotro chomping on his heels and if he goes deep here he’ll be at No. 5. Additionally, Andy’s not playing at Monte Carlo which means he’ll lose out on a very good opportunity to obtain some points. Oy Vey is all I can say!!


jane Says:

Oh Duro, no worries – I was only trying to justify myself, which is difficult sometimes; I was also playing with you a bit, since you like to use those imperatives in your writing! Smiles!! :-D

Von – well I hope you’re right about Djoko; I know Mathieu played Novak tightly on clay at RG last year, so we’ll see. He’s likely going to lose number 3 to Murray soon enough, so I totally understand and empathize with your concerns re: Roddick and JMDP chomping at the bit!

But why do you think he’s not a lock for the quarters? I can’t remember who’s in his section but if I recall correctly, I think there are Safin and Monfils right? Doesn’t he have winning H2H against both of those guys. Maybe I’ll go have another look at the draw.


jane Says:

Amazing how difficult it is to convey tone in writing; that’s an under-appreciated skill in good writers. I re-read my previous post to you Duro and I can see how you read it as my being really hurt or angry or whatever. Sorry for that. I didn’t mean to come across so “holier than thou!” I’d better be more careful.


Von Says:

Well, Roddick has hit the gates and is flying. he’s 4-1 in the first set with a possibility of breaking at 40/40. C’mon Andy, get it done in two easy sets, then you can relax with dear Brooklyn bridge Decker. For those who aren’t Americans, we have a famous bridge in NYC, called the “Brooklyn Bridge”.
_____________
jane: andy has a winning H2H against Safin, but I think not against Monfils. the Frenchie is too spry running like a gazelle all over. anyway, here’s hoping.


Von Says:

6-1 first set Roddick. Looking good so far.


jane Says:

Yes, doesn’t look like Andy has much to be concerned about Von; I think he’s got a great shot at going d-e-e-p here.


Von Says:

Roddick has broken Junquiera in the first game of the second set. Come on Rover, we’re hitting home stretch here at Ascot.


Von Says:

jane: First round matches can be used as a barometer for how well a top player is playing. If the top player struggles in that round it shows he’s not playing well, hence I’d say Roddick is playing well now, but it’s the latter rounds that’s the problem. Anyway, he’s sending a message to the others that he’s playing well. He has a good chance, but that’s about all. He running 4-1 now, and the last furlong is in sight. he’s now rounded the bend and bell is ringinggggg, come on Rover!! As a kid I loved horse racing.


Von Says:

I read an interview recently in which Roddick states that the courts have all slowed down and it’s no longer to the server’s advantage. He also stated it’s the reason why he began to work on his game overall.

OK, 6-1, 6-1, Roddick. I wish I could have seen that match.


jane Says:

Nice rout by Andy. Over and out!


Duro Says:

Jane, Parle-tu francais?


Duro Says:

Grendel, we lost our thread, it’s probably too old, so if you’re there I’ll answer you.


jane Says:

Hi Duro – non, un peu. My son (8 yrs) is in french immersion so I am picking up a little. I am going to study it in my spare time soon as I want to speak it fluently.


Duro Says:

Parfait! Je suis tres contant de ca. I don’t have these particular letters for French… Anyway, you didn’t give me any hints about teaching so I had to do it today on my own. It went well, I’m rather talented, because my father is a professor. But I was so thirsty after 2 hours of lecturing! Tough job!


jane Says:

I know – it’s like performing 4 days a week! To keep everyone interested, it helps to throw in some stand up comedy or wit. Studies have actually shown that people remember well the moments during which they laugh. Studies have also shown that people have about a 15-20 minute attention span. Sad but true. So I usually use some media – film clips, whiteboard, overhead, computer. The key is to change it up. Never just straight power point or something for 1-2 hours. Also, if your situation allows for it, active learning is better than passive. If students can interact in some way, work in pairs or small groups, that helps too. But it’s a fun job overall – minus the marking!! Which I have loads of now.

What did your father teach? If you feel like sharing…


Duro Says:

What do you teach, that’s what interests me! He’s a professor of Serbian language, retired now. I’m a customs official, chief of the customs office in my town. I was teaching my new colleagues some stuff for professional training, but tennis was in my head…


jane Says:

Duro – I know what you mean; sometimes tennis is in my head when it shouldn’t be. LOL. I teach film and literature.


Rose Wood Says:

I absolutely adore Gilles Simon…but I can’t watch any of his matches…they’re not showing them on Sky and neither online….does anyone know where I can watch them….and oh yea hopefully Simon can get to the Semi’s….please :)


jane Says:

Hi Rose Wood – yeah, Simon is fun to watch; try atdhe.net or channelsurfing.net, which are both free online streaming sites. Hopefully those will work for you.


Rose Wood Says:

Hey Jane tanx for that…but yesterday the match between simon and schuettler wasnt shown on atdhe neither channel surfing. But tanx for that anyway maybe they’ll show it tomarrow…I wish lol :)

Simon is really a fab player, I think hes awesome…he has a completely different playing style…and I loved it when he beat Federer and Nadal last year….I mean who would have thought that would eva happen lol :)

tanx jane :)


Murray, Djokovic Tangle Today for Miami Title Says:

[...] for the Miami Sony Ericsson Open Maters title? He can, but he won’t. I’m sticking with my pre-tournament pick, Murray, to get the job done, and get it done probably in straight [...]

Top story: Coric Ends Nadal's Season In Basel, Federer Overwhelms Dimitrov; Ferrer v Murray In Valencia
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