Djokovic Begins Clay Season, Has He Cooled Off? Del Potro Wins in Estoril
by Sean Randall | April 27th, 2011
  • 94 Comments

Almost a month into the 2011 clay court season, tomorrow Novak Djokovic finally makes his debut on the red dirt. As if almost set up like boxing patsies, Djokovic begins his journey to a French Open title in his home event in Belgrade against someone named Adrian Ungur in the second round.

Djokovic of course has been the story of the year winning all 24 matches he’s played and 26 straight including the Davis Cup title in December. But even after that blistering start Rafael Nadal is once again making a charge. And while Djokovic has a hefty lead in the 2011 rankings, Djokovic will have to prevent Nadal from a clay sweep if the Serb wants to stay in the lead entering Wimbledon and the second half of the season.

And as I said earlier, one has to wonder if the three weeks or so away from the tour has cooled Novak off. We likely won’t find out tomorrow or maybe even this week given the relative weakness of the Serbia draw (John Isner, Ernests Gulbis and Juan Monaco all losers today), but we’ll certainly find out next week in Madrid.

As for other happenings, Juan Martin Del Potro made his first clay match in nearly two years a good one. Delpo probably wasn’t his best but still managed to win defeating unknown Pedro Sousa 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in Estoril. With a strong showing this week and another in Madrid, the 46th-ranked Delpo should get a seed at the French Open next month.

Tomorrow, Delpo meets Alejandro Falla. Robin Soderling is also on against Jeremy Chardy. Should both favorites win they’ll meet Friday in a tasty quarterfinal. JW Tsonga is also on the schedule. Milos Raonic, a winner over Igor Andreev, plays Thursday.

Back in Serbia, Fernando Gonzalez is back from hip surgery and he also got a nice win today.

In Munich, Marin Cilic was a winner but Stan Wawrinka was stunned by German transplant Dustin Brown. Tomorrow in the best match Marcos Baghdatis squares off against the youngest player in the Top 100, 19-year-old Grigor Dmitrov.

WEDNESDAY BELGRADE SCHEDULE

CENTER COURT start 12:00 noon
B Kavcic (SLO) vs R Mello (BRA)

Not Before 2:00 PM
M Berrer (GER) vs [4] A Montanes (ESP)

Not Before 4:00 PM
F Lopez (ESP) vs [WC] F Gonzalez (CHI)

Not Before 8:00 PM
[1] N Djokovic (SRB) vs [Q] A Ungur (ROU)
C Fleming (GBR) / D Martin (USA) vs S Gonzalez (MEX) / I Zelenay (SVK)

WEDNESDAY ESTORIL SCHEDULE

CENTRAL start 11:00 am
[1] A Kleybanova (RUS) vs M Johansson (FRA) – WTA

Not Before 2:00 PM
[1] R Soderling (SWE) vs J Chardy (FRA) – ATP

Not Before 4:00 PM
A Falla (COL) vs [8] J Del Potro (ARG) – ATP

Not Before 5:30 PM
[3] E Butorac (USA) / J Rojer (AHO) vs F Gil (POR) / L Tavares (POR) – ATP

CENTRALITO start 11:00 am
A Kudryavtseva (RUS) vs R Oprandi (ITA) – WTA

Not Before 12:30 PM
[Q] E Roger-Vasselin (FRA) vs [6] T Bellucci (BRA) – ATP

Not Before 2:30 PM
[3] [WC] J Tsonga (FRA) vs P Cuevas (URU) – ATP


Also Check Out:
Del Potro Withdraws From Estoril
Soderling v. Del Potro in Heavyweight Estoril Battle; Djokovic Eyes No. 28
Roger Federer Putting in the Not So ‘Hard Yards’ in Estoril
Del Potro Dominant In Clay Opener; Tomic, Cilic, Haas On Court Friday In Munich
Marquee Clay Schedules: Where Will Nadal, Djokovic, Federer And Murray Be Playing The Next Six Weeks

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94 Comments for Djokovic Begins Clay Season, Has He Cooled Off? Del Potro Wins in Estoril

grendel Says:

Dimitrov one set all with the Bag, 3-1 up in 3rd, and also 30-0 on Baggy’s serve. Kimmi – your faith justified? Will Dimitrov keep his head. The bag’s tougher than he sometimes appears, and I don’t think he’ll give it to young Dimitrov. But, wow!


grendel Says:

Ho, ho1 Dimitrov held his nerve and broke again. 4-1. And he to serve. Surely, surely.. Nope, no surely’s in this bitter world…


grendel Says:

Dimitrov 5-1. Surely now it is time for surely? Nope, never time for surely.


grendel Says:

Baghdatis holds! Start of a mighty comeback?


grendel Says:

grigor 30-love up as he serves for the match.

Time for the Bag to make his move…


grendel Says:

30-15! The Bag has awoken! Woe, Woe!


grendel Says:

temporary setback to Baggy has Grigor claws back a point – and it’s match point.


grendel Says:

Dimitrov’s done it! He has confounded the gods, the gremlins and even the Bag! Well done, me lad, buy you a drink..


Kimberly Says:

Wow, great result for Dimitriv. Maybe he can use this momentum and move forward?


jane Says:

Congrats to Dimitriov – bag win, oops, I meant big win! ;)


dari Says:

There’s a pretty funny “letter” to Rafa on tennis.com called “attn: clayface”


jane Says:

Interesting results in Munich today; all the higher seed went down. The opposite in Estoril: except for Tsonga, who lost, Soda, Delpo and Belluci came through. Serbia is a mixed bag so far.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

NEXT UP:
Your heavyweight battle!
DelPO vs SODERLING!

Although, well, these heavyweights are really middleweights, this will be one of those matches you have to watch to extract meaning from. I mean, if Soderling wins agains a DelPo playing like he did yesterday, it doesn’t mean anything. If DelPo wins against an injured or off-day Soderling it likewise may be illusory. But if we get a real slobberknocker, then whoever the winner, we will keep these two as possible Giant Killers in the coming weeks.


grendel Says:

odd how both del Potro and Gonzalez had to face F.Lopez v. early in comeback.

TV – delpo and the Sod faced off earlier in the season, didn’t they, with delPo a fairly convincing winner. Different surface, of course – even so, expect a delpo win.

Hadn’t realised Dimitrov had battled through two match points, coming in on the match (via scoreboard) only at the death. Well, good for him, that’s just the sort of experience will stand him in good stead.


andrea Says:

hopefully we’ll see some more classic novak/nadal clay matches now…

and go canucks! woo hoo. a whole city is jubilant.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Grendel, definitely correct but I think Soda had been battling some injury during that time. Remember, he went from winning 2 straight tournaments to a few dismal performances. Still, I watched that match and DelPo player amazing. Certainly Soderling has had more success on clay than DelPo ever has, and beating a top 5 player should never be considered routine, it isn’t for Rafa and it isn’t for DelPo.
I am very interested in this match to look for hints as to whether either of these guys will make a splash in the weeks ahead as they both have the potential too.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

I certainly don’t expect Nole to have cooled off. Nole has been a tremendous player for several years. Having improved his serve, his speed, his groundstrokes, his fitness, of course he’s going to be a Slam contender every time out. The only issue is whether his sky high confidence will shake, but lookie- even at his weakest, when he couldn’t buy a first serve for months at a time, he never dropped from the top 4. With all these fundamentals improved, he is a challenger to Rafa and possibly superior to Fed here on out.
Whether he can challenge Rafa on clay is an entirely different question, but he will undoubtedly be a force in this clay swing.


jane Says:

Last night there was a beautiful double rainbow over Vancouver after a spring shower. The Canucks, Burrows, actually, had just scored their first goal. Burrows ended the series in game 7 overtime with a second goal, a pair, a double. Seriously, now, if that wasn’t an omen from the hockey gods, I don’t know what is. ;)

Okay, sorry I digress. But we have a happy hockey habitat today. Hope we can keep it going next round.

Hope Nole can keep his streak going longer too!


stu Says:

No bagel or breadstick today? He’s definitely cooled off :)


Nina Says:

John Isner, Ernests Gulbis and Juan Monaco all lost today? What is wrong with those guys? I don’t know, hungry unknown youngsters can even be more dangerous for a top, specially if he hadn’t played them before. But seeing how easy Nole made it look, even if somehow rusty, I’m confident he will be undefeated till Madrid. Ajde Nole!


jane Says:

Nole just didn’t serve his best today (59% firsts, broken twice) but his return game was as effective as ever. Once he shakes off the rust, he’ll get a groove. And this tournament is a good one to get grooved in.

TV – Go Canadians/Habs!


Kimmi Says:

WOW! dimitrov wins another match. it is the first time he wins two matches in the same tournaments. very happy for him.

Gendel, thanks for commentary on those few last games. he saved a matchpoint..WOOT!! definitely these kind of matches is what he needs. Go grigor! Even if you lose the next match, you have done yourself proud. Hope he wins ofcourse!!


Kimmi Says:

great to see delpo winning easily this time. ha-ha, falla, is this the same falla who gave fed a scare at wimbles? didn’t have a chance today..delpo leave with a breadstick. go delpo!


Kimmi Says:

OK expected to see nole winning..how many matches in his streak now? is anybody counting?

Upsets, upsets, upsets…Nina – tsonga, youz, stakhovsky also lost. these are all seeded players losing to unseeded. Cuevas is tough on clay, i think he is starting to find his game. he also beat roddick in miami, tsonga is his next victim.


dari Says:

Same falla, kimmi! Man he must have been having a grwat day or fed just a horrible one, cause I don’t hear of him doing much besides that day. Luckily I did not see that match!


Kimmi Says:

dari, i follow the score at work for that fed/falla match and i almost had a heart attack..i think i am handling fed loses better now :)


grendel Says:

Habs is hockey, I take it? Well, tonight, I watched Barcelona against Real Madrid – probably the 2 best club teams (football) in the world, battling it out in the semifinal of the Champions League. Should have been a great match, but, although curiously absorbing, it was in fact an ill tempered game played by 2 teams basically terrified of losing. However, redemption was at hand. Messi’s second goal was the culmination of 20 seconds – if that – of glorious dancing and weaving about the legs of several frantic defenders. As the commentator shouted out in excitement, these players wanted to stop Massi, they wanted to kick him, to hurt him, to cause him (in short) great grief – but they were simply unable to get near him. No, that is not correct, they got near him alright, incredibly near him, but somehow just couldn’t touch him. Lionel Messi’s magical dribbling would have made a master of ballet look clumsy. There is not a player alive, and very few dead, who could have displayed such consummate skill.

I was laughing with my son in sheer happiness at such a beautiful display, the icing on the cake being the coolly executed goal. The word genius tends to be overused, but here it was barely adequate.

This got me to thinking how utterly different a sport football is to tennis – in terms of appreciation, I mean. For the match itself was – considering the talents on display – sort of dreary (though always tense), and it is not difficult to think of a tennis match between 2 greats which basically disappoints. But could a magical shot, say, by Federer compensate? Or even an entire game? No, it doesn’t work like that in tennis. But Messi’s few seconds of outrageous wizardry shone a light in our souls, and we forgave everyone on the pitch for the ugly infantilism to which they had reduced a lot of the match. Very strange.


Polo Says:

I have been waiting for Grigor to do well since all the hype about him started. I have been very disappointed so far. This win over Baghdatis is an improvement. However, hasn’t everybody been beating up on Baghdatis recently? I wouldn’t be jumping up and down for this Grigor win. He has to do more to be worth all the hype heaped on him.


dari Says:

Yes kimmi, it was prime morning worktime i remember and was actually busy that day and did not check the score once until the third set! I was freaking out, too! But like I said, was luckily busy during those hours. I can’t imagine sitting on the couch and just enduring that.
Of course fed losses are easier now, but that was defending champ almost going down first round at wimbledon.
well anyway that didn’t happen :)


grendel Says:

Polo, you are quite right. I think a few of us have been disappointed in Dimitrov – but are reluctant to abandon him! After all, the hype is hardly his fault (it’s ours!). Now, most of us seem to be hoping for a slow but steady improvement – and, who knows what he might be like in a couple of years? It is easy to envisage a number of scenarios, not all of them good. Fingers crossed, I guess.


dari Says:

I think I missed the dimitrov craze- where was I? I don’t know a ton about him, but read he was only 19! No fret.
I am more aware of berankis, but that does not say much- I have no idea where he is at the moment.


Kimmi Says:

grigor is only 19, will be 20 next months. Not all are like nadal or hewitt who wins their first GS at 19. i think he is making good progress. he has reached his highest ranking so far. there was a time last year he won about 5 or 6 challenger tournaments in a row….that shows something!

Anyways, like grendel, i will not given up on him. wins like today even though baggy has not done much recently still shows something.

go grigor!


Polo Says:

Of the upcoming tennis players, I don’t see anybody with the same aura as those who turned out to be really good…like Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and before them…Borg, McEnroe, Edberg, Becker. (I did not include Wilander because the first time I heard of him, he has already won the French. I omitted Ivan Lendl too because he did not get any hype. The media was not very kind to him). These guys got a lot of publicity and hype when they were were just starting and they all lived up to the hype. And all of them showed steady progression. All were exciting to watch. I just don’t feel that when I watch these new kids on the block.


jane Says:

Polo, most of those you mention had won slams at a very young age too. I cannot comment to much on Grigor, but challenger events don’t speak volumes. He needs to win more on the tour, and the reason his win over Baggy is bigger is just for that reason: he beat a, albeit suffering, solid ATP player, one who has been in a slam final. However, what this says about Dimitrov’s future is utterly ambiguous. He needs to win some events. Guys like Nole, Fed, Rafa, and Murray were all winning events in their teens. Nole won Miami the first time when he wasn’t even yet 20, and we all know how young Rafa was when he broke through. In 2001, when Fed was 19, he was winning tour titles and getting to the quarter finals of slams. So that Grigor will be 20 soon means, imo, he has to start producing on the Tour not the challenger level. Delpo won a slam at his age.


Polo Says:

Jane, thanks, I forgot to mention del Potro. He is another one who started to make waves at a very young age and just kept going.


Polo Says:

Also, it is not just a matter of winning events while in their teens, as soon as they got out of the block, they started to beat other guys ranked much higher. And they have a knack of not losing to lesser ranked players.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Well, all very true, the question is why the change? Have we just had bad luck for a couple years, or is it that, as has been said here before, tennis is much more physical today and a teen’s body can’t handle the power, speed and endurance needed?
Rafa was the last real prodigy, but players used to come to prominence in their teens frequently. Becker, Chang, Agassi… Now Raonic stands out and he’s 20; DelPo definitely is the standout “young achiever” of the last couple years, and he was 20, I think, when he won his Slam. So is 20 the new 18? Has everything backed up a couple years?

Even still, this doesn’t answer the question of why no one, other than DelPotro, has come up behind Nole and Murray. Where are the Slam contending 20, 21, 22 year olds? Nole and Murray are 24 already and Nole is only just now becoming a challenger for #1.

So is 24 the new 18?

What other possibilities are there? There is the possibility that we have an unusual lack of talent right now which should flip at any time. Or there is the possibility that Federer and Rafa really ARE the greatest players of all time, so much so that no other generation can find oxygen until they have breathed their last…

X-ers. Illuminate me!


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Oh, and worth mentioning- Borg retired at 26! So Murray has his work cut out for him to match that legacy! Let’s see, 11 slams in 2 years… doable!


dari Says:

It obviously isn’t just fed and Rafa who are keeping the new generation from coming up, its murray nole, Soderling… youzhny, etc all the way to like kohlschreiber cause these new guys can’t get through past 20′s and 30′s.
EVERYBODY just much be better across the board and the elite are just absolutely elite- talent and athleticism.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Well, good point Dari- Ferrer and Soderling are still whipping Tsonga, Monfils, Cilic…
So what is wrong with today’s kids?? Rock n’ roll music?? Lack of respect? Baggy pants? The reefer?


dari Says:

What’s going on in the juniors and academies, though? Are they overworked/ have too much pressure? Apparently not in the good overworked uncle toni/ David in the cellar kinda way…
I guess I just don’t know what the deal is.


dari Says:

Ok, one more thing. It’s on the ladies side, too! No capriati’s, hengis’s, Williamss…
adult transition in general is a bit [literally] retarded these days, though.
People getting married and having kids later, etc


jane Says:

TV, “So what is wrong with today’s kids?? Rock n’ roll music?? Lack of respect? Baggy pants? The reefer?” Did you mean to put this on the Donald Young thread, ha ha ha.

Too bad about the Habs. : / Down to the Nucks to hold the hockey fort for Canada, not counting all the Canadians on all the American teams, of course….


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Ack, I can’t get behind the Canucks, I don’t know why. Maybe still mad about the Bertuzzi incident. Will be cheering the Wings here on. But good luck to you! I’m sure I’ll jump on the bandwagon if they make the Finals!


Polo Says:

I remember when Steffi just came into the scene and started disrupting the Martina-Chrissie show. That was so amazing, a teen-ager giving a hell of a hard time to the two considered among the best ever and beating them in grand slam events. I will probably not see anything like that anymore.


jane Says:

Speaking of Dimitrov, here’s a gesture he made after reaching his first ATP QF – not sure what it means?A-Okay? Excellent in Bulgarian?? ;)

http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=127697


margot Says:

I’m not giving up on Dimitrov! If u look at the top 10 the average age must be about 26, with Meltzer and Fed turning 30 this year. If u look at top 100 I think I’m correct in saying he is the youngest there!
As Tennis Vagabond said, the men’s game is so tough these days it’s so difficult for younger men to break in. I really don’t think it’s due to lack of work ethic, though it must be mighty discouraging. I remember Andy having to “tough up” in order to stay the distance with Rafa, and admitting he had to.
As an interested bystander, one area Grigor and co need to improve is ROS, it’s a key aspect that distinguishes the very top players


grendel Says:

Polo – Evert later said (contentiously? one in the eye for Martina?) that Graf was the best she had ever seen. Some tribute, from that source. Not typical, though.

Apart from physical aspects of the game – and del Potro and Raonic are both huge men and so to a degree can buck the trend (only to a degree – delPo’s exertions came at a huge price, after all) – the base is getting larger, commercial aspects ever more pronounced, in short, the rat race aspect of professional tennis becomes rattier by the day.

In these circs, you’d expect tennis maturity to be delayed. The fact that no teenager has made it to the upper echelons tells you that so far as Dimitrov is concerned there are no necessary limits to what he might achieve. At some point, his generation must take over – there is no reason to suppose he won’t be amongst those. We literally have no idea what he might achieve – I like to think someone with his graceful game will go to the top. He’s in with a shout.

margot, what does ROS mean? Have you noticed that the Americans are redoing The Killing? Watch out for Sophie Hannah’s The Point of Rescue, shortly to be televised. Hannah is an excellent poet – I value her for her downbeat humour especially in love poems – who also writes thrillers. Captivatingly good ones – hope they transfer to the small screen…


margot Says:

grendel: ROS =Return of Serve. Saw Dimitrov play and he took forever to get into Baggy’s serve, which wasn’t spectacular. GD is lovely to watch, I agree, all power with grace. Seems to have grown and got skinnier. He and Tomic are my favourites of the youngsters.
Thanx, will look out for “The Point of Rescue” sounds gr8. Have noticed “THe Killing” to be re-done. Not sure, darling Sarah is too perfect. Have persevered with “Spiral” and now note really, really weird looking one did do it! Wonder how he looks in “real” life…..;)
R u familiar with the “crime” novels of Kate Atkinson? “Case Histories” etc. They are superb, very clever and intricately plotted. Well, anyway she has a very interesting anti hero, Jackson Brodie. He really makes me think of you. That IS a compliment btw :)


gonzalowski Says:

grendel: I saw Madrid-Barca too; you have to consider that the referee threw out Pepe, from Real Madrid, in a wrong way: it wasn’t red car and expulsion IMO; after that fact they came Barca’s goals.
puto referee! :)


jane Says:

grendel, margot: what’s the Royal Wedding hype like there? We have a whole lot of it here already, sheesh. And of course the Americans are remaking “The Killing” (which I haven’t seen but which you two make me want to see); they remake everything in Hollywood, or thereabouts, it seems!


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Meanwhile, Raonic, only a few months older than Dmitrov, marches on to face Simon tomorrow. I’ve never seen Simon on clay, but he’s so incredibly quick and consistent I have to imagine he’s dangerous. I really don’t have high expectations for Raonic, every match he wins on clay is a tremendous achievement AND a tremendous learning opportunity to get another round of match play under his belt.
He will likely be ranked in the top 20 by the time the French comes around, and if he wins 1 or 2 matches he could be top 16 for Wimbledon, which could protect him for a few rounds and get him in top ten for hardcourts.

So expect a new youngest top tenner by July!


Karomia Says:

Hi guys, new here.

I saw a sticker once that said, “(Tennis) isn’t dead. It’s just resting.” The lack of good young guys is probably a combination of a lot of things, like TV suggested upthread, and I agree the physical aspect plays a big part. Most of these guys aren’t even done growing by their late teens then it can take them another 2-5 years before they clue in to how important nutrition and physical training is for the sport, in addition to drills and technique, and figure out how to best utilize the extra height/bulk on the court. That’s not taking into consideration when/if they gain mental maturity.

I remember seeing DelPo plugging away as total unknown at 3rd tier events for years before he started to string enough positive results together to mark a blip on the radar. And, please don’t stone me, I also remember Fed going through draws at Miami and practicing on outside courts when he was a scrawny unknown who hadn’t yet harnessed all his skills and abilities into the weapons package it is now.

So, it’s definitely possible that in another year or three we’ll have a handful of new, promising players to watch, and, yes, that means the current leaders like Fed and Rafa will be a half-step or two slower by then, but that’s natural progression. Five years from now, if the younger, faster, stronger guys are having a bad day on court, and the old bulls are doing well, then Fed, et. al., will still win titles, even slams, but sooner or later age and the next generation will catch up with them. Predicting who that generation will consist of and whether they will be as great is anybody’s game. Heck, even the ATP couldn’t do it–witness some of their “new balls” who fizzled (Haas, Gambill, Lapentti, anyone?).


margot Says:

jane, it’s HORRENDOUS!!!!! Considering what went on with Charles abd Di, I find it all mighty strange. But there again I’m no Royalist. IMHO they’re an anachronism in the 21stC. Many people are working normally anyway, as Monday is a Bank holiday.
However, we have kite festival to go to so not all bad :) :) :)


margot Says:

“Charles and Di” of course…”abd” “abd” ???….I’m obviously reduced to gibbering over it all….;)


jane Says:

Oh kite festival sounds much better. :) I don’t get all the hype personally, but they showed on CBC news last night some Canadian ladies who are camped out at the site of the Royal wedding. One doesn’t even have a tent~! I cannot relate whatsoever. I enjoyed “The Queen” as a film. But this all does seem rather anachronistic. And $$$$ costly! Feed the poor instead. : /


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Gambill and Lapenti, ahh memories. Haas was the real deal though, if only he had a sound body and no voices in his head.


dari Says:

Wow, haven’t heard of Jan-Michael gammill in aaages.
No doubt the growing-into-body aspect plays a factor- fed says he just began to know and feel comfortable in his body a few years ago.
But haven’t boys been growing into mens’ bodies forever? Why was it not so much a factor decades ago? Guess the ones who have grown into theirs are just that much better. Anyway, I am amazed by Rafa who basically skipped juniors and jumped in with the grown ups. he’s quite special :)


Karomia Says:

Yeah, there’s a reason I didn’t get into WHY they fizzled, because injuries are the wild card that took a lot of guys out of the game, like Guga. Tommy’s injury struggles were a real shame, he had a beautiful game, but I thought Kiefer was the German with voices? ;)


Karomia Says:

Dari, I had to go back and google to find those, since I couldn’t even remember some of their earliest picks. JMG had a tough time of it off the court, I suspect, and I agree, Rafa is very special.


grendel Says:

gonzalowski – yes, the sending off of Pepe, v.dangerous player, was a gross overeaction. I thought there was a definite case for sending off Abedayor, however – he just slammed his hands into his opponent’s face – and wondered if the referee was over lenient because he had become aware of the ineptitude of his earlier decision.

First goal – I agree, Real Madrid one man short. But I like to think that the second goal was a Messi special – about which nobody can ever do anything, whoever they are, where ever they come from and however many there are. Mystery: why can’t Messi play for Argentina like he does for Barcelona? Pressure? Not right support?

jane – the Royal Family is an absurdity which you certainly couldn’t consciously invent, and for this reason, I like it. I don’t follow it, mind, I have no idea what most of them are even called, I just find the idea of them entertaining. God forbid President so and so. We have enough greyness, not to mention ambition and lust for poewer masquerading as principle. Economically, it may be the case that the sheckles they (the royals) pull in for the exchequer exceeds that which they make for themselves. I doubt there is any impact on hospital production.

margot – yes, I like Atkinson, and her fantasy chap Brodie is very likeable (so I am flattered in fact by your comparison, whilst conscious I don’t remotely deserve it). I thought the last one (set in Leeds, where I live)was a bit weak though.

Baggy can have a good serve – was it not on the other day? But certainly Dimitrov was all at sea against Gasquet’s serve a month or so ago. I suspect ROS is something which comes later in most players’ repertoire – that’s my impression.


grendel Says:

margot, I’ve just noticed I said “fantasy chap” w.r.t.Jackson Brodie. No idea why, or even remember writing it. Intriguing – like everything to do with memory. One possible explanation: I read an interview somewhere with Atkinson in which she admitted that she often tended to see life, everyday activities, through Brodie’s eyes. Sounds to me like she’s kind of in love with her own character. I do think she’s reached a deadend with him, though, for the time being, anyway.


Kimmi Says:

OK, about the royal wedding!! I just want to see the dress :)


dari Says:

someone at work told me vera zvonareva called it quits with her hottie coach! i can’t find any links, but…
whatever works. as long as she improves her winning, im sure she won’t miss that face


tennislover Says:

“Mystery: why can’t Messi play for Argentina like he does for Barcelona? Pressure? Not right support?”

I also wonder why he hasn’t replicated his club brilliance while playing for his national team. I guess his role is slightly different when he plays for Argentina. Messi is expected to do a lot more work in the midfield and be more of a play-maker whereas, at Barca, the hard work is done by Xavi and Iniesta while Messi is more of a free spirit as it were. He probably enjoys scoring goals more as compared to setting them up. He is also marked very heavily, a la Maradona, because he is the only big threat in the Argentina midfield. Against Barca, most managers are concerned primarily about Xavi and Iniesta because they make the play and it is difficult to allocate a lot of resources for marking just one player in a team full of very good players. There are others who can take advantage if one concentrates too much on Messi.

Messi gets all the accolades because he scores the goals(of course, also for how he scores many of them) but Xavi and Iniesta, among others, deserve a lot of credit for his success at Barca. I remember very well how these two played a critical role in making a formidable ManU side look like a bunch of schoolboys chasing shadows in the Champions League final two years ago.

All this is not meant to take any credit away from Messi though. He could well be the finest to have emerged after Maradona and compares pretty well in assists and setting up goals. However, if dribbling past several players to score a goal is concerned, he appears to be in a class entirely of his own and the evidence is mounting. The moments of sheer magic, like last night’s second goal, are mind-bogglingly frequent. Most players would be proud if they could score one such goal in their entire career. Messi has several such moments in a season. He seems to possess the genius of a Maradona and the predatory instincts of, say, a Van Basten. No wonder, some are starting to think that he could be better than even Pele and Maradona.


jane Says:

dari, Nooooooooooooo! Her matches just lost their lustre. ;)


Kimberly Says:

Kimmi, me too!


jane Says:

grendel, entertaining, perhaps; colourful, yes. Ridiculously wealthy & overly powerful, not too mention hyperbolically pompous, most definitely. I suppose that circles back to entertaining, but I cannot be bothered.

Sure, show us the dress, I guess. But really, there is much better clothing out there, if you want style. Watch the fashion week shows, many of which are streamed live, for example. I guess I was never into the fairy tale, princess thing, and that is definitely some of the appeal hee.


dari Says:

I didn’t know they were having such craze about the wedding!
Diana and Charles were married before I was born, but I knew that was quite a big deal- thought it was a one- time deal.
Funny, William used to be the better loooking one now harry is it!


Daniel Says:

C’mon, everybody loves royalty, they have this aura and the weight of the title itself.
It is a fascination with the “divine right by berth and blood” aspect. It just sound beyond ourselves: Royalty! Just say it out loud. Lol

Even Hollywood: just look at this years Oscar’s or how many actors won prizes playing kings, queens, princes. They help perpetuate the aura. :)


Daniel Says:

Oh, remember that infamous:
“The King is dead” by Djoko’s mom. We got our hands full till this day..


margot Says:

jane: thanku very, very much. This WAS a royal free zone… ;) You want to see the Danish “Killing” I should think. Now on DVD something like £32 at Amazon, but bound to come down and it IS 20 hours!
grendel: Re Brodie, yes my daughter agrees with you but am afraid I wept buckets over “….brought my dog” and am still in her thrall.
Of course, Sayers was also in love with Wimsey, expect many authors are.
Humph, I certainly wont be watching any more of Vera’s matches, that’s for sure!


jane Says:

margot, : / Sorry.

Daniel, maybe in the middle ages, the Renaissance… but in the postmodern here and now? Nah. :)


margot Says:

and grendel re Royals, Scandinavian countries seem to manage very well with a very low key monarchy. Apparently our Royals cost each tax payer 62 pence per year. Can think of far better uses for my 62p ;)
jane: I 4give u :)


scineram Says:

Democracy and republicanism are the most ridiculous things this stupid postmodern age brought us.

Damn I cannot watch the fireworks of Soda-DelPo!


grendel Says:

margot – 62p a year? Come. Anyway, how much income do they generate – tourists, etc?

jane – you are missing the point. They are not powerful except, perhaps, indirectly. Thus Prince Charles can spout forth about architecture without necessarily having much technical knowledge. Personally, I find that both funny and in a way, salubrious. Modern architecture, especially in England, I can’t say about other countries, has a shocking track record – it was these supposed experts who organized all these hideous, disastrous tower blocks (designed for the poor) which never in a million years would they have dreamt of living in themselves. Condescending sods. Good for the “ignorant” Prince for exposing these moral imbeciles.

The point about Royalty is that it is largely a fantasy. Nothing unusual in that. These days, what isn’t, at least at a public level? Meanwhile, all the ritual stuff which every country has to accomodate, monarchy, republic, totalitarian hell-hole – you name it – is the preserve of people who have no power (real power) whatever. Nobody could have invented such a system because, apart from being utterly bizarre, nobody would have agreed to it. Lust for power runs too deep in those who have even the faintest opportunity of grabbing it. But somehow, with nobody intending it, this uniquely odd system has emerged where real power – which tends to be brutal – is replaced by a simulacrum, in short, a pretend power. Everybody knows it’s pretend, but that doesn’t stop them liking it. I think this shows a sort of wisdom – and imagination, too.


grendel Says:

tennislover – thanks for your knowledgeable take on the Messi situation. Perhaps, also, he suffers from the burden of expectation where the national side is concerned. I think this is a problem for Rooney in England.
I saw that Barcelona demolition of Man U which you allude to. Yes, a humbling experience….. Looks like a repeat for the final at Wembley. I hope Man U give a better account of themselves. I really like this young Mexican, Hernandez….


jane Says:

Cilic choked his first set lead away; he was serving for the set at 5-4, then Davy broke, held and broke again to take it 7-5.

grendel,Their power may be illusory but the amount of money they have isn’t – their properties, et al. Then there are the religious, racial and gender realities that go along with the monarchical “fantasy” that make the simulacra just a little too bitter for my taste. Disneyland, according to Baudrillard, is a simulacra, as was the Gulf war, in his outlandish view! But we know that both generate realities that aren’t so fantastic. Simulacra is fun, imaginative, entertaining, but they can have very real consequences.


grendel Says:

nothing’s perfect, jane, of course. The money the Royals have is certainly outlandish – but it is, imo, a price worth paying. These particular simulacra are deeply benign – you only have to look at the state of the world. Mind you, you are Canadian, and I believe you are still in some sense, like the Aussies and Kiwis, lumbered with the British Monarchy? That is a different matter, and I can well understand why you’d want to discard such a foreign “imposition” – if that’s what it is. Baudrillard, b.t.w., sounds like a prize twit – like a lot of very clever people. “Clever imbeciles” was the phrase Arthur Koestler had for such buffoons.


jane Says:

Just as I thought – all of Soda’s momentum was lost over the rain delay (from up 4-1 30-15 on Delpos’s serve, to 5-4, deuce on Delpo’s serve), and Delpo has righted the ship; he will win in straights now.

No grendel, nothing is perfect, that’s for sure. Including Baudrillard, who can say silly things, no doubt, but who nonetheless has some smart things to say too, particularly, imo, about simulacra.

Nole isn’t looking too sharp early on versus Kavcic.


margot Says:

grendel: 62p x 70 million is a lot of dosh. IMHO they help perpetuate our iniquitous class system, nobody should look up to anybody who hasn’t got to their position through talent/hard work. Even then looking up gives one a horrible crick in the neck. They are in that highly priveleged position because they were BORN into it. Yikes, I can feel the bile rising as I type, better stop now!
PS I too feel “lumbered” with them.


jane Says:

^ and looking “up” comes not just in terms of class but in the religion they support, the male primogeniture, and let’s just imagine for a minute if Kate was African or Asian – would the wedding have happened? Doubt it. Sorry. I can’t help but think the monarchy perpetuates all sundry of ancient prejudices.


jane Says:

And grendel Koestler was a buffoon too, in some ways.


jane Says:

Very average match from Nole, I thought. Casual errors. Kavcic has some obvious talent, so credit to him, but I saw only flashes here and there of the dominant Nole from earlier this year. I suppose he can raise his game. F-Lo is playing well here, though, and he tends to trouble Djoko at times; he is one of the few to take a set off him this season.

Can’t seem anyone stopping Delpo in Estoril.

But note: Raonic / Simon ran out of time (darkness) but Milos is serving to take the first set to a tiebreaker! I wonder if this means the winner will have to play two matches tomorrow? The same for Hotsauce and Anderson, who ended with Anderson having won set 1 in a tiebreak.

In Munich I am wondering if Davy can win?? Who’s left? Petz, Mayer, and Steps.


dar Says:

awwwww, davy with a title. ‘twould be nice.
haven’t seen a novak match, but you know, its his first ones on clay and maybe he got a little relaxed at home?
btw, saw some of the wedding. i’ll buy it- that shit was pretty. william looked like a very happy groom considering that he was a groom and all ;)
and everything going on
dresses were ab fab.


grendel Says:

margot – I don’t look up to royalty. I actually have no interest in it whatsoever. But I recognize it as benign, even in its absurdities, especially in its absurdities, for the reasons I have given. Our class system is risible, certainly – iniquitous? Compared to most of the rest of the world? What cloud are you living on? My attitudes, b.t.w., are not informed by money – I have none, and I couldn’t care less. And b.t.w., 62p times 70,000,000 is about 43 million quid. I daresay Andy Murray will have laid his hands on that amount by the time he has retired.

What religion of the royals – Prince Charles, for instance, is by his nature sympathetic to them all, I am personally sympathetic to none. That’s my personal prejudice. It’s a massive red herring. Does royalty perpetuate prejudices in general? I doubt it, it more or less follows fashion. It’s perhaps a bit tardy – who cares? Certainly not the black people I know. The world is burning, and we get this trendy dave spart stuff. And by the way, what “highly privileged position?”
Personally, if I was given a choice between being, say, a roadsweeper and a royal, it would be roadsweeper every time. Are some royals loathsome pompous bastards – yes, of course, just as are some roadsweepers and some teachers and some nurses and so on. Especially some teachers, come to think of it, with all their empty certainties.

Prejudice – you can open a whole can of worms here, and you might be surprised at what will emerge.


jane Says:

Will leave the can o worms closed. Meant only to inquire about wedding hype not merits of monarchy. That’s what you get for going off topic, though I find the discussion quite interesting. Had to look up Dave Spart. Agree on certainties grendel, and thus have been known to change my mind a time or two. I never laminate my notes, ha ha.


grendel Says:

jane, you give lefty liberalism a good name. Your tolerance is exemplary.


sar Says:

I didn’t watch the wedding and saw only bits on the regular news. I wish them luck though.


Daniel Says:

This wedding only remember me about Diana. I bet somebody came close to William and said: Your mother would be very proud!

She used all the privileges and our modern “star/paparazzi system” to get attention to people in need around the world.

Kate has a long way to prove she is a worthy princess. Time will tell..


Skeezerweezer Says:

This thread started with Novak and Delpo on the tennis court and ended up with them in the royal wedding of England. Oh well, only on Tennis-x :D, good conversation and a Brewsky…or glass of Vino or a cup of Jo/tea?


margot Says:

AAHH! That’s the trouble with internet discussions u r left bashing your head against the wall….
What ON EARTH has what Andy earns got to do with anything???? 45 million buys a lot of sure starts, youth unemployment centres, day care centres, help for the drug addicts/alcoholics/mentally ill sleeping rough on our affluent, liberal, Western streets for a start.
In a Western, liberal, supposed democracy, yes our class system is iniquitous. I am not comparing us with Afganistan for heaven’s sake, try Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Holland first. What do those countries have in common? No blooming Royal Family to speak of first.


grendel Says:

“What ON EARTH has what Andy earns got to do with anything????” It indicates rather nicely the relative triviality of the sum you propose. As for day care centres etc, there is always room for improvement. Where you find money is a matter of policy. If royalty has value – and millions seem to think it does – then it will cost.

Our “supposed democracy”. The dave spart film director Ken Loach tried this line recently in a ludicrous interview in the Radio Times. Incensed, I fired off a letter to the magazine – they printed some of it. Loach had complained that the brutal police treatment of the miners in the 1980′s strike (in England) was ignored whilst the cultural elite went on about Chile, Tiananmen, Poland. I pointed out that at least in the English miners’ strike the police didn’t torture, murder or imprison for years the miners they had been less than gentle with. Loach may be a good film director. As a man, the best you can say about him is that he is exceptionally silly.

Democracy is not utopia, it is imperfect, unfashionable, boring and so on. But it is a million light years away from the state of affairs where democracy, supposed or otherwise, is not practised. Comparing us with Holland et al is quite pointless. There is variety of course in the democracies. As for our class system being “iniquitous” that’s just a misuse of language, in my opinion.

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